Skip to main content

Full text of "Abraham Lincoln"

See other formats

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

State of Indiana through the Indiana State Library 

AA i^^ 

Lincoln, the Rail-Splitter 





Q i y / y^^^^c < r ^u^ 




Copyright, 19 17, by 



Made in U. S. A. 


Chapter I 5 

Birth of Abraham Lincoln and First Years in Kentucky 
— Removal to Indiana — Death of His Mother— Early 
Struggles for an Education — Removal to Illinois. 

Chapter II . 19 

Lincoln Beginning Life in Illinois — Impressed by a Ne- 
gro Slave Auction in New Orleans — In Politics — His 
Defeat and Later Election to the Legislature — Made 
Postmaster of New Salem — Settling in Springfield — Prac- 
tising Law — Lincoln Married. 

Chapter III 33 

Lincoln Elected to Congress — Becomes Leader of New 
Republican Party — His Opposition to Slavery — His De- 
bates with Stephen A. Douglas — Nominated for Senator 
and Defeated. 

Chapter IV 47 

Lincoln Nominated for President — His Election — South- 
ern States Secede from the Union — "Confederate States 
of America" Formed — Trouble with the South on the 
Slavery Question. 

Chapter V 58 

Lincoln Bids Faiewell to Springfield — His Journey to 
Washington — His Inauguration — Bombardment of Fort 
Sumter by the Confederates — The Beginning of the Civil 
War — The Call to Arms. 


Chapter VI 72 

Battle of Bull Run — General Grant's Victories in Ten- 
nessee and Mississippi — Battle between the "Merrimac" 
and the "Monitor" — Battle of Antietam — Emancipation 
Proclamation — Battle of Gettysburg — Grant Made Lieu- 
tenant-General — Lincoln's Address at Gettysburg. 

Chapter VII .......... 85 

Lincoln's Second Presidential Campaign — His Re-election 
and Inauguration — General Sherman's March through 
Georgia — The Surrender of General Lee — End of the 
Civil War — Lincoln Assassinated — Funeral Ceremonies. 


Lincoln, the Rail-Splitter .... Frontispiece 

Lincoln's Early Studies 19 

Lincoln, the Young Country Lawyer ... 33 

Lincoln's Inauguration as President .... 58 

Lincoln at Antietam 72 

Lincoln Delivering His Gettysburg Address . 85 






'•i> 1 -j "*** -— * "* * 


IN the heart of the State of Kentucky, near 
Hodgensville, a splendid granite building has 
been erected about an old log cabin to protect it 
from the wind and weather. It is an ugly little 
cabin, but its warped logs are dear to Americans. 
This strong protection has been provided about the 
cabin so that not only you, but the children of a hun- 


dred years from now, may visit it and look upon it. 
Why should any one want to look at such a poor little 
tumble-down house ? I shall tell you. It is because 
"This little hut was the cradle of one of the great sons 
of men." On the 12th of February, 1809, a little 
boy was born there, named Abraham Lincoln. He 
was the son of plain people, and was born to make 
men free. 

For nearly two hundred years, his forefathers had 
been brave men, always pushing ahead into the wil- 
derness. When we look at the great United States, 
with their smiling grain fields and orchards, their 
mighty factories and busy cities, their schools and li- 
braries and temples of worship, we must not forget 
such men as the ancestors of Abraham Lincoln. 
They were the path-finders and scouts, running far 
ahead of civilization. With strength of hand and 
mind and heart, they struggled with nature, made 
their homes and built their settlements, in spite of 
the attacks of wild beasts and savage men. They 
cut trails through the trackless forests, where now we 
ride on steel rails or smooth-paved roads. Knowing 
nothing of ease, they cleared the way for comfortable 
homes. Untaught, they made places for schools. 
They were the men whose love of liberty has laid, 
one after another, westward to the Pacific, the foun- 
dations of the states. They lived in poverty and 
often met cruel and sudden death. 

When Abraham Lincoln's grandfather, also named 
Abraham, came to Kentucky, the state was a pathless 
wilderness. He set to work to build a home. He 
felled trees with his strong arms and trimmed the 


logs and laid them in place to form a cabin. He had 
three sons ; Thomas, the youngest, was only six years 
old. Each boy had his part in building the house and 
clearing the farm. 

One early morning, while going to their day's work, 
a shot rang out in the forest and the boys saw their 

father fall dead. The oldest boy ran to the cabin for 
the gun, which always hung over the door. The sec- 
ond boy fled to the nearest fort for help, while little 
Thomas knelt beside his dead father. Running out 
of the cabin with the gun, the oldest boy saw an In- 
dian in war-paint just stooping over, ready to seize 


his little brother. He took quick and deadly aim at a 
bright ornament over the heart of the savage, fired 
and killed him. Thomas escaped and ran into the 
house, as Indians swarmed out of the woods. They 
were kept off by the big brother, who fired at them 
through cracks between the logs, until help came from 
the fort. The little lad, whose life was so narrowly 
saved, was one day to become the father of Abraham 

Without the father, the new home had to be given 
up, and the mother and three boys had a hard time to 
make a living. As soon as Thomas was old enough 
to work, he drifted about wherever he could find a 
job. He grew up to be "a wandering laboring boy," 
without any education and with very little ambition. 
But he was sober and honest. His friends liked him 
for his good humor and for the good stories he told. 
He was tall and stalwart and successful in the ath- 
letic contests of those days. He learned the trade of 
a carpenter, and married the pretty niece of the man 
in whose shop he worked. Her name was Nancy 
Hanks. She, too, was an orphan and had had a hard 
life. She was as poor as her husband, but she knew 
how to read and write and taught him to sign his 

When they were married, they had a great wedding 
feast of bear meat and venison, wild turkey and duck. 
A cake of maple sugar was swung on a string, to be 
bitten off for sweetening whisky or coffee. There 
were gourds filled with sirup and wild honey, and a 
whole sheep was roasted over the coals in a pit. 
When Thomas and Nancy were married, they owned 


a cow, a feather-bed, a loom and a spinning-wheel, 
and they went to housekeeping in a tiny one-roomed 

After awhile, a little girl was born. They named 
her Sarah. No one seemed to need much carpenter 
work, so Thomas Lincoln bought a farm on credit and 
moved into the cabin already built upon it. The 
land was poor, but had a fine spring on it, and this 
gave it the name of "Rock Spring Farm." In this 
rough and poverty-stricken home, on the banks of 
Nolin's Creek, Abraham Lincoln was born and here he 
lived for four years. Then the family moved to a 
somewhat better farm. The mother was of a sweet 
and refined nature, and wanted her children to have 
a better education and a better chance in life than 
their parents had. There were few schools in Ken- 
tucky in those days, though sometimes a school 
teacher would come along and teach for a few weeks 
in one of the cabins. Abraham and his sister went 
to such a teacher for a little while. They had to walk 
four miles through the forest to reach his cabin. 

Before the children had time to learn much, their 
father decided to move to Indiana, a new part of the 
country. He sold his farm for $20 and four hundred 
gallons of whisky. Loading all his goods upon a 
raft, which he launched on the creek near his cabin, 
he set out alone to select a new home. He floated 
down to the Ohio River and landed on the Indiana 
shore. After exploring the forest, he chose a spot on 
Pigeon Creek. He could not return up-stream on his 
raft, so he sold it, left his goods with a settler, and 
walked back home to get his family. Two horses 


were borrowed, for the mother and children to ride, 
and the family traveled a hundred weary miles to the 
place where their things had been left. It took three 
days to go from the Ohio River to the new home, a 
distance of sixteen miles, for the father had to cut 
a way with his ax so the wagon he had borrowed to 
haul their goods, could pass through the dense forest. 

The cold nights of autumn had come and no shelter 
awaited them. The first thing to do was to cut down 
small trees and as quickly as possible make a camp. 
Little Abe was then only seven, but he was strong 
and sturdy, and could swing an ax with the rest of 
them, for he had played in the forest, eaten only 
simple food, and slept in the open air. 

He helped his father to build their "half faced 
camp." It was closed on three sides, but the fourth, 
before which a fire was built, stood open to the 
weather. There was no floor. Wind and rain beat 
in between the poles. Even the bear in the forest 
had a cosier winter home than the Lincolns, but they 
lived there a whole year, while Abe helped his father 
chop down the big trees. They thus cleared a field 
for corn and used the logs for a cabin, which they had 
ready for the next winter. (1817.) 

Sometimes, in building a cabin, the bark was left 
on the logs, but usually they were smoothed inside. 
The bedstead was made in the angle of the cabin, by 
sticking poles between the logs and supporting the 
corner by a crotched stick driven into the ground. 
For coverings, they used the skins of bear and deer. 
If there was a floor, it was made of logs hewed with 
an ax on one side and laid close together. A slab, 



cut out of a big log, with poles for legs, formed the 
table, and rough, three-legged stools served as seats. 

The Lincolns moved into their cabin without a 
floor, a door, or a window. When Abe went to bed, 
he had to scramble up to the loft by pegs driven into 
the wall, and he slept on a pile of dry leaves. When 
they needed meal for bread, he was sent seven miles 
on horseback with a bag of corn, to have it ground by 
a neighbor who owned a hand mill. The only meat 
they had was supplied by game from the woods. 

They wore garments and moccasins made of deer 
skin. Their caps were made of raccoon skins, with 
the tails hanging behind. For pins, they used sharp 
thorns. Abe was too tender-hearted to kill the wild 
things in the woods. 

He did not like hunting, 
though once, when eight 
years old, his father be- 
ing absent, he shot a 
wild turkey. 

The hardships of this 
life were too much for 
Nancy Lincoln. When 
she became ill, there was 
no help for her, as the 
nearest doctor was thirty 
miles away. Just be- 
fore Abe's ninth birth- 
day, she died, telling her 
sobbing little boy to be 
good and to love God. 
Her husband cut down 


a great pine tree and sawed out rough boards for a 
coffin, in which her body was laid away in a clearing 
in the forest. The little boy's heart was grieved by 
this sad burial. Months later, when a traveling 
minister came by, the boy asked him to say a prayer 
above his mother's grave. Little Abe was very 
lonely, but he went about his work bravely, helping 
his father wherever he could. 

Sarah was only eleven years old, and the care of 
even their poor household was too heavy for her 
small hands, but she did her best, and they struggled 
through the winter and the summer. Long after- 
ward, Lincoln said, "Those were pretty pinching 

In the autumn of 1819, the father went back to 
Kentucky to find some one to mother his children. 
He found a fine and sensible woman, Sally Bush 
Johnston, who consented to marry him, and go back 
with him to Indiana. She was a widow, with a son 
and two little daughters, and was so well off that 
a four-horse wagon was needed to carry her goods to 
her new home. She had homespun blankets and 
quilts, and, among her things, there was a bureau. 

A nice feather-bed soon replaced Abe's pallet of 
leaves, and for the first time in his life, he had a pil- 
low. The stepmother put a wash-stand outside the 
door and scrubbed these neglected little children and 
put decent clothing on them. She made their father 
hang a door, put down a floor and cut windows in 
the cabin and fill them with greased paper, to let in 
the light and keep out the rain. The "pinching 


times" gave place to times of cheer and comfort. 
The lonely children now had playmates and a good 
mother. Forlorn little Abe, youngest of all, was 
taken right into his stepmother's warm and generous 
heart. She loved him dearly and encouraged him to 
study and improve himself. He had not been to 
school in Indiana and had forgotten the little he had 
learned in Kentucky. But whenever a traveler came 
by, he eagerly asked questions, often vexing his 
father, who could not understand his thirst for knowl- 
edge. Once a wagon broke down in the road and a 
woman and two little girls waited in their cabin while 
it was being mended. Lincoln said afterward, "The 
woman had books and read us stories. They were the 
first I ever heard." There had never been a book 
nor a paper in their home, so you can imagine how 
much Abe enjoyed the stories. 

The stepmother insisted that all the children 
should go to school, though the father thought this 
unnecessary. Abe took every chance to learn, often 
walking many miles through the forest to the home 
of a teacher. 

From the forest itself he learned much. He knew 
the stars and the winds and the trees, and the little 
wild things that ran across his path. He knew the 
notes of the birds and he knew when the slanting 
shadows foretold a change of season. In the forest 
he learned to think for himself and to think right, 
which is the greatest lesson the greatest school can 

There really was very little schooling possible, 
however. Abe went to school for a time when he was 



» pay £>r it Ate 
vailed todder -for three day* 

ten, again at fourteen 
and later at seventeen; 
including these periods 
and the time in Ken- 
tucky, he spent, alto- 
gether, less than a year 
of his life in school. He 
never neglected his share 
of the family labor and 
worked for the neigh- 
bors whenever they 
needed him. But he put 
in all the time he could, 
reading and adding to 
what he had learned 
in school. He had no 
slate, no pencils, and paper was very scarce. To 
practice his arithmetic, he used the wooden fire 
shovel. Sitting by the fireside and working in its 
flickering light, he covered the shovel with sums, 
done with a bit of charcoal, and then he whittled it 
clean again for a fresh start. He had a Bible and 
whenever he heard of any one owning a book, he 
would trudge any distance to borrow it. In this way, 
he read "Robinson Crusoe," "^Esop's Fables," "Pil- 
grim's Progress," a "History of the United States" 
and Parson Weems's "Life of Washington." He 
read every book within a circle of fifty miles. When- 
ever he read a word or a sentence he wanted to re- 
member, he scrawled it on the logs of the cabin or on 
a smooth chip, till he could write it on paper. Paper 
was so scarce that he wrote only the best words and 


sentences that he read and those he wished most to 
remember. His pen was made from a turkey quill 
and his ink, of briar-root juice. He practiced writ- 
ing until he wrote well and clearly. He learned to 
spell so well that he was not allowed to take part in 
the spelling matches, because he was so sure to out-do 
the other pupils. 

The "Life of Washington" was so interesting to 
him that he carried it to bed with him one night, so 
as to have it to read as soon as daylight came. He 
put it between the logs of the cabin, but a rain came 
down in the night, beat into the cracks and soaked 
the book. Abe pulled fodder three days to pay the 
owner of the book for it ! 

By the time he was fourteen, Abe walked every 
week into the village of Gentryville to read the 
Louisville papers. 

When he had read all the books he could find, he 
began on the Statutes of Indiana, which belonged to 
the constable. In this book of the state laws, he 
found the Declaration of Independence, the Consti- 
tution of the United States and the Ordinance (law) 
forbidding slavery in the Northwest Territory. An 
old dictionary at this time found its way into his 
hands and he even read that, page by page. Now all 
this sounds as though Abe were only a "dig" or a 
book-worm. As a matter of fact, he was full of fun 
and jokes, and, because of his reading and good mem- 
ory, he became the best of story-tellers, adding 
greatly to the pleasure of any gathering of people. 
His neighbors all liked to hear Abe talk. 

He was always pleasant at home. His stepmother 


said, "Abe never gave one a cross word or look, and 
never refused to do anything I asked him. He was 
the best boy I ever saw or expect to see." He was 
always gentle and kind and polite. No doubt his 
mother's sweet nature lived again in her backwoods 

House-raisings and corn huskings and athletic con- 
tests were among Abe's pleasures. By the time he 
was nineteen, he had grown to be six feet, four inches 
tall and had long arms and legs. The country folks 
called him "Long Shanks" and laughed at his shins 
showing below his outgrown trousers. But he could 
outrun and outwrestle all the boys and split more 
rails and lift heavier logs than any of them. He was 
proud of his great strength, but in his heart he wanted 
to learn to talk like the preachers and lawyers; to 
read and spell like the school teachers and to write 
like the men who made books and newspapers. He 
loved to stand on a stump and make a speech, or to 
imitate the sermon of some traveling preacher, or keep 
a crowd roaring with laughter at his jokes and 

Until he was twenty-one years old, his time be- 
longed to his father. He either worked on the farm, 
or was hired out to a neighbor, his wages going to his 
father. A "day" was from sunrise to sunset, and for 
a day's work he received twenty-five cents, unless he 
had missed a little time and was "docked" for it! 

When he was about sixteen, he had a chance to 
work on a ferry-boat on the Ohio River for thirty- 
seven cents a day. He enjoyed this, for he saw many 
travelers passing east and west. A lawyer became so 


interested in him that he wanted to take Abe into his 
office. It was just what he longed to do, but the boy 
said his parents were too poor and needed all the 
money he could earn. While working on the river, 
he earned a whole dollar one day by rowing two men 
and their trunks out to a steamboat waiting for them 
in midstream. He had never before earned so much 
money in a day and it gave him new hope and cour- 

About this time, Mr. Gentry (the storekeeper and 
founder of Gentry ville, Indiana), loaded a flat-boat 
with pork and corn, bacon and flour. He wanted to 
find a strong, honest, intelligent young man to take 
the boat a thousand miles down the Mississippi 
River, sell the cargo at the cotton plantations and 
bring back the money. It did not take him long to 
select young Lincoln, to whom he paid $8 a month and 
his fare home on the steamboat. Allan Gentry, the 
storekeeper's son, went with him and the voyage was 
successfully made. Lincoln learned a thousand new 
things from all he heard and saw. 

By the time Abe was grown up, their home was no 
longer on the frontier. Hundreds of canvas-covered 
wagons had come over the mountains from the East, 
and Indiana was now full of people. Settlers were 
pushing westward and as Thomas Lincoln watched 
these "prairie schooners" disappear toward the set- 
ting sun, he longed to follow them. He seemed to 
forget all the hardship of making a home in the wil- 
derness and he decided to go on to Illinois. Abe was 
almost twenty-one, at which time he would be free to 
work for himself, but he helped his father "move." 



His sister had died, and the neighbors were sorry to 
lose Abe. One of his friends planted a cedar as a 
token of remembrance. 

An ox-cart carried their scanty possessions. The 
cart wheels were formed of round blocks cut from a 
big oak log, and the roads were muddy trails. 

He helped his Father move 

Creeks and rivers had to be forded. The journey 
must have been rougher than we can imagine in our 
days of fine roads, good springs and rubber tires. 
Abe was the driver, and on this journey, he managed 
to do a little business. He had saved up thirty dol- 
lars and with them bought a supply of needles, thread, 
buttons and other little things, which he knew would 
be scarce in the wilderness, and which he peddled to 
settlers along the way. He doubled his money by 
this deal. 

Lincoln's Early Studies 








'With the schoolmasters help 
he studied mathematics 

HEN they reached Illinois in the spring of 
1830, the family chose a place on the 
Sangamon River and built a cabin, fenced 
in ten acres of ground, and raised a crop 



of corn that season. Abe wanted to make his 
stepmother as comfortable as he could, in return for 
all her goodness to him. Their first winter in Illinois 
was very dreary and desolate; it was intensely cold 
and was known as the winter of the "deep snow." 
When spring came again and Abe had given his 
father an extra year, he left home to seek his fortune. 
With his ax over his shoulder and a little bundle 
holding all his possessions, he set out, in March, 183 1 . 

He was soon engaged, with his stepbrother and 
cousin, by a man named Denton Off utt, to take a flat- 
boat, loaded with hogs and corn, to New Orleans from 
Sangamon, Illinois. The wages were fifty cents a 
day. The young men built the boat, loaded and 
launched it on the Sangamon River. At the village 
of New Salem, it stuck on a dam, with one end 
high in the air and the other in the water. All the 
village folk came out to look and laugh. Poor Abe, 
tall and thin and sad-faced, in ragged coat, bat- 
tered hat and torn trousers, was forlorn enough 
to be the object of their jokes! But he was 
good-natured and won their respect by thinking of 
a smart way to get the boat off. He bored a hole 
into the bottom of it at the bow, and managed to lift 
the stern so the water ran out of the hole in the front, 
and the boat went over the dam while he plugged up 
the hole! This delayed them a day and a night. 
They had some other adventures, but reached New 
Orleans safely and sold the hogs and corn. 

When Abe went to see the sights of the city, the 
thing which impressed him most, and which he never, 
never forgot, was a negro slave auction. He saw 



a young woman being sold and felt so sorry for her 
that he said, "If I ever get a chance to hit this thing, 
I'll hit it hard !" They returned by steamboat to St. 
Louis and from there Abe walked across Illinois to 
visit his father's farm. Then he went to New Salem, 
where Mr. Offutt had promised to employ him as clerk 
in a store. The people remembered him and wel- 
comed him warmly. 

An election was drawing near and Lincoln was 
asked if he could write. He answered that he could 
'make a few rabbit tracks on paper," and he was hired 
to help the clerk at the election. This gave him an 
acquaintance with the voters, who stayed to hear his 
droll stories. Among them was the schoolmaster, 
Mentor Graham, who ever after was Lincoln's warm 


Mr. Offutt opened his store, bought a mill and 
put Abe in charge of both, for he trusted him com- 
pletely. He boasted that his clerk could beat anyone 
running and fighting. In those days, each settlement 
had its champion wrestler and the ''Clary's Grove 
Boys" bet Mr. Offutt $10 that their leader, Jack 
Armstrong, could beat his clerk. Abe did not enjoy 
fighting, but saw that he must, to keep his place. All 
the village flocked to see the match. Lincoln won the 
fight, and he fought so fairly that he also won the ad- 
miration of everybody and the lasting friendship of 
Jack Armstrong. 

At New Salem, many tales were told of his strength. 
One was that he lifted a barrel of whisky until, 
standing erect, he could drink out of the bung-hole. 
The story says he did not swallow the whisky, for he 
hated the influence of liquor on the people and did all 
he could for the cause of temperance. 

Strong as his body was, Lincoln's character was 
stronger, and he had a kind word as well as a helpful 
deed for every one in trouble. His hands were ready 
to lift a wagon out of the mire, rock a cradle, split 
wood for a neighbor or wait on the sick. He was 
fond of children and kittens and puppies. Away 
back in Indiana, he had written articles against cru- 
elty to animals. If he happened to make a mistake in 
weight or change, he did not sleep till he had made it 
right, even though he had to walk miles to do it. He 
very early earned the nickname "Honest Abe." 

But he did not really want to be a storekeeper all 
his life. He wanted knowledge, and liked to think 
and study and talk. When he had read all the books 


in New Salem, he "had a notion to study Eng- 
lish Grammar." His friend, Mentor Graham, told 
him it was a fine plan, but the nearest grammar was 
six miles away. Abe walked out and borrowed this 
"Kirkham's Grammar," and soon knew all that it 
contained. With the schoolmaster's help, he studied 
mathematics and covered all the wrapping paper in 
the store with his problems. 

A political discussion was a great pleasure to Lin- 
coln, and when he was twenty-three, he made up his 
mind to be a candidate for election to the State Legis- 
lature. (Law-making branch of the State Govern- 
ment.) "Internal Improvements," meaning the 
building of roads and bridges and the clearing and 
damming of rivers, interested the people more than 
anything else that was to be considered by the legisla- 
ture. Abe thought it would increase his chance for 
election, if he would promise the people to have the 
legislature improve the river and make it deeper, so 
bigger boats could pass up and down. He published 
a fine letter in the newspaper, addressed to the people 
of the county, saying what he thought ought to be 
done by the legislature. It closed with the words, 
"Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. I 
can say that I have no other so great as that of being 
truly esteemed by my fellow men, by rendering my- 
self worthy of their esteem." 

Before the election took place, the Indian "Black 
Hawk," who had been pushed across the Mississippi, 
led his warriors back to the land that had belonged to 
their fathers. The Governor of Illinois called for 
volunteers to protect the state. A company was 


formed at New Salem and the men chose Lincoln for 
their captain. This pleased him, though he knew 
nothing of the duties of his new office. 

The boys in his company were full of pranks, for 
which he, as their captain, was punished. Once he 
had to wear a wooden sword two days, because they 
stole whisky from the officers. They enlisted for 
only a few weeks, but as the "war" did not end so 
soon, Lincoln reenlisted as a private. His military 
service lasted about three months. Soon after his re- 
turn home, the election was held and Abe was de- 
feated. His neighbors voted for him, but he was not 
very widely known in the county. 

Mr. OfFutt's store failed and Abe went into part- 
nership with a man named Berry. They bought a 
store on credit, but Abe read and Berry drank all the 
time, so the business was neglected. 

One day a man, moving west, asked them to buy a 
barrel of odds and ends, for which he had not room 
in his wagon. Lincoln gave him fifty cents and put 
the barrel away. Months later, he dumped its con- 
tents on the floor and found Blackstone's great law 
book, which is one of the first books studied by all 
lawyers. He had always wanted to study law, and 
now the store was all but forgotten. Lying under a 
great tree, with his feet against the trunk and "grind- 
ing around with the shade," he spent hours pouring 
over his treasure. In a year, the store "winked out" 
and Berry left without paying his share of the indebt- 
edness. Lincoln bravely shouldered this burden, 
calling it the "National Debt," because it looked so 
big to him. He owed $1 100 and had no way to get 



money except in very small wages for odd jobs. He 
promised his creditors that he would pay it all and he 
did, although it took seventeen years of patient labor 
and saving ! He worked at everything he could get 
to do and was appointed, in 1833, Postmaster of New 
Salem. It was not much of a position, for mail came 
only twice a week and there was little of it. It is 
said that he carried the 'post office" in his hat 
and whenever he met a man for whom he had a let- 
ter, he would take off his hat and deliver the mail ! 
But this position brought him newspapers to read full 
of the speeches of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay 
and other men in Congress. 

He devoted all the time he could spare from his 
work, to his reading, 
often tramping to Spring- 
field, twenty miles away, 
to borrow law books. In 
the evenings, he went to 
the cooper's shop, where 
he made a fire of shavings 
and read by its light. As 
soon as he could help his 
neighbors with his knowl- 
edge, he began to draw 
up legal papers for them, 
without charge. 

A chance to do some 
surveying (marking off^ 
land) came to him. He 
knew nothing about it, 
but bought the instru- 

Xt is *aid that he carried, 
tke post-office in his hat: 


merits and a book and "went at it." After a few 
weeks of hard study, he was ready for work. Like 
Washington, he made a splendid surveyor and set- 
tled many disputed boundaries. He felt that now 
he had a way to make a living and was more hopeful 
about his future, when one of his creditors (men to 
whom he owed money) had his horse, saddle and in- 
struments seized and sold by the sheriff. But Lin- 
coln, who had so often helped others, did not lack a 
friend in his time of need. A man named Bolin 
Greene, a staunch friend of Lincoln's, bought the 
things, gave them backhand told him to pay for them 
when he could. 

Two years after his defeat for the legislature, there 
was another election. By this time, Abe had made 
many friends in the county and announced that he 
would again be a candidate. He visited the people 
on their farms. He attended all the gatherings, 
horse-races, house-raisings, shooting matches and 
auctions, where he took part in everything that went 
on and then made speeches. He was elected (1834) 
by a large majority and entered on the career of 
which he had dreamed for years. 

It is hard for us to realize how poor Lincoln had al- 
ways been. He wore rough, home-made, cow-hide 
shoes, when he was not barefoot, and his clothing was 
of coarse homespun. But the gentle kindness of his 
face and manner and the fun and wisdom in his talk 
made friends for him. When he went to Vandalia, 
then the capital of Illinois, he borrowed $200, with 
which to buy some blue jeans clothing, pay his fare 


on the stage-coach and have some money in his pocket 
when he arrived. 

He was nearly twenty-six years old at this time 
and had never lived in a town, for New Salem was 
merely a group of a few cabins in the forest. He had 
never lived where there was a church, though he had 
always attended when some traveling minister 
preached in a neighboring cabin. He had never seen 
a college, or even a properly built schoolhouse. Van- 
dalia, with its three taverns, four doctors, five 
lawyers, two newspapers, its stores, church and 
schoolhouse, seemed a great city to him! 

Whenever Lincoln found himself in new sur- 
roundings, he made it his rule to keep still and watch 
and learn what others were doing. So he took little 
part in the debates in the legislature, but he listened, 
became acquainted and made friends. Among the 
members of the legislature was a man named 
Stephen A. Douglas, as noticeable for his shortness 
as Lincoln was for his height. He played an im- 
portant part in Lincoln's later life. Douglas had 
come from Vermont the year before, with thirty-seven 
cents in his pocket, and had begun the practice of 
law. He was a Democrat and Lincoln was a Whig. 
At the end of the meeting of the legislature, Lincoln, 
having done all he could about the Sangamon River, 
returned to New Salem, and to his work of survey- 
ing, studying law and distributing mail. 

During this time, he was in love with the tavern- 
keeper's daughter, pretty Ann Rutledge. Her re- 
finement and strength of mind and character at- 


tracted him when he was a humble helper about the 
tavern. He dared not offer himself to her until his 
fortunes improved, but after he returned from Van- 
dalia, they were engaged. The marriage was put 
off a year, as she was only seventeen and wanted to 
spend a winter in the academy at Jacksonville. But 
this first real happiness was destroyed before many 
months. His sweetheart died and her death caused 
him the deepest sorrow. Of all the disappointments 
in his life, this was the greatest, but through it he 
learned a lesson of bravery and patience. He had 
need to learn these lessons early, for his life was to 
be full of sorrow. 

In 1836, Lincoln was again elected to the legisla- 
ture. He said, at this time, he was in favor of letting 
everybody vote who paid taxes, 'not excluding fe- 
males/ 5 This is interesting, because people then 
were not talking about "votes for women!" His 
friends had raised $200 for his campaign expenses. 
After election, he handed back $199.25, saying his 
only expense had been seventy-five cents for a barrel 
of cider, to which some farmers had insisted upon 
being treated. 

At this session, he took a prominent part in all de- 
bates. Among other things, he helped to have the 
state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. 
But the most important thing he did passed unno- 
ticed at the time. Slavery was becoming a vexed 
question all over the country. Those who believed 
the slaves should be free were called "Abolition- 
ists." The Illinois people had nearly all come from 
the South and at this time favored slavery. So the 


legislature passed some resolutions, disapproving of 
the abolitionists. Lincoln, whose heart had been 
touched when he saw slaves being sold in New Or- 
leans, was almost the only member who refused to 
vote for the resolutions. He drew up a protest 
against them, but only one other man would sign it 
with him. In the beginning of his career, he took his 
stand on the subject of slavery, though it was so un- 
popular, and he never changed his opinion because 
he believed he was right. 

Like the store, New Salem and the post office 
^winked out." Lincoln had $17 of post office money 
which he kept tied up in an old sock for several years, 
until the inspector called for it. No matter how 
much he needed it, he had never borrowed a cent of 
this fund. "I never touch any money but my own," 
he said. 

He put all he owned into a pair of saddle-bags, 
borrowed a horse and rode to Springfield to live. It 
was a city of almost two thousand people and a good 
deal of style. Lincoln said there was a "consider- 
able flourishing about in carriages." When he ar- 
rived, he was not only almost penniless, but he was 
deeply in debt. Inquiring at a store the price of a 
bed, he said, when told, it was probably cheap enough, 
but he could not pay so much for one. The store- 
keeper, Joshua Speed, felt sorry for him and offered 
to let Lincoln room with him. "Where is your 
room?" Lincoln asked, and was told "upstairs." He 
ran up with his saddle-bags and was back in a mo- 
ment, crying, "Well, Speed, Fve moved!" 

He also lived with a man named Butler, who prob- 


ably did not ask him to pay any board. Lincoln 
never forgot these good friends whose help made it 
possible for him to get a start. He formed a law part- 
nership, but he made his headquarters at Speed's 
store, where the young men of the town gathered 
every evening. Stephen A. Douglas was one of 
them, and there were others who also became famous 
lawyers and statesmen in after years. The center of 
the group was the earnest and witty Lincoln. 

They had long debates about the affairs of the 
country. Lincoln always looked at the moral prin- 
ciple behind a question, without any thought of his 
own popularity. He took a strong stand on the tem- 
perance question, which was not in much favor at that 

He worked hard and patiently at his profession, 
and his absolute honesty won him the confidence of 
all His sense of right and wrong was so keen that 
he would not take a case that could not be won 
justly. If convinced that a man was guilty, he 
would not defend him. He had no use for the tricks 
of the law, but was quick to see and foil any used 
against him by opposing lawyers. He discouraged 
people from beginning lawsuits when they could be 

For six successive years, Lincoln was elected to the 
legislature, which met in Springfield each winter. 
In spring and autumn, in company with other 
lawyers and the district judge, he traveled around 
the circuit (certain towns where court was held) , try- 
ing cases in the county towns. There were very few 
newspapers and many people were unable to read, 


and so they depended upon the lawyers to explain 
the laws to them and tell them what was going on 
in the country. Lincoln was a great favorite and 
the people crowded to hear him talk — either in the 
court-room or at the tavern, where the judge and all 
the lawyers 'put up." He was poor enough in 
earthly possessions, but he was rich in sympathy and 
tenderness of heart. His hard life of struggle for 
better things, amid disappointments and discourage- 
ments, had given him a certain sadness which he never 
could overcome. Though he was poorly dressed, he 
had many friends, for people thought more of his 
character than of his appearance. His growing name 
as a forceful speaker, his wit and his reputation as a 
lawyer, gave him a place in the best society of the 
little frontier capital. He was a leader among the 
really brilliant young men of Springfield. 

When Mary Todd, twenty-one and spirited, 
pretty and well educated, came from Kentucky to 
visit her married sister, the house was soon filled 
with her beaux. Towering above the well dressed 
and graceful young fellows who called on her, Lin- 
coln, in spite of his height and awkwardness, took her 
fancy. They became engaged, but her family ob- 
jected and the engagement was broken. Lincoln felt 
so bad that his friend Speed carried him off for a 
visit to his own home in Kentucky. When Lincoln 
returned, Miss Todd and another girl were writing 
letters to the newspaper, making fun of the State Au- 
ditor, a man named Shields. He was very angry, and 
to protect the girls, Lincoln took the blame for the let- 
ters. Shields challenged him to a duel. Lincoln ac- 


cepted, but made the conditions so ridiculous that 
every one was in a gale of laughter over it and the 
quarrel was settled peaceably. Miss Todd then mar- 
ried her penniless knight, in spite of her family — No- 
vember 4, 1842. The "National Debt" still hung 
over him, but his bride loyally accepted his poverty. 
Too poor to have a home, they boarded for some time 
at the "Globe Tavern" for four dollars a week! 
Lincoln dearly loved little children, and was very 
happy as one after another four sons were born to 
them — Robert, Edward, William and Thomas. Ed- 
ward died while a baby; William lived to be eleven 
years of age, and Thomas, eighteen. Robert grew 
up and went to Harvard University and served his 
country in positions of trust. 

tmcola 8,H*n,aon Law Office* 
CSccenJ fleer) 

Lincoln the Young Country Lawyer 







WHILE building up his law practice, 
Lincoln never lost sight of his ambition to 
be sent to Congress, and when he was thir- 
ty-eight years old, he was elected ( 1846) . 
He took his family to Washington, where he spent 
his first term in silently watching other people and 
learning. It was a 
time of remarkable 
men in Congress. 
John Quincy Adams, 
Daniel Webster, John 
C. Calhoun, Thomas 
Corwin and Alexander 
H. Stephens were a 
few of the men to 
whose eloquent words 
Lincoln listened. But 
he had 2 way of win- 
ning men and it was 
not long before this 
great brotherhood of 


law-makers received him cordially. He was as 
eagerly listened to in the lounging room of the Capi- 
tol as in the tavern of an Illinois village, and for the 
same reasons — he was wise and witty and had a gen- 
uine love of folks. He lived simply, in a modest 
boarding house, where his cheerfulness was a joy to 
those about him. 

The great libraries of Washington were a wonder 
to him and the attendants were wont to smile when 
he tied a bundle of books in his red bandanna hand- 
kerchief, stuck a cane through the knot, and walked 
away with his precious load over his shoulder. 

While Lincoln was in Congress, the Whigs (a po- 
litical party in the United States from about 1829 
to 1853), nominated Zachary Taylor, hero of the 
Mexican War, for President. Lincoln was sent to 
Massachusetts to make speeches for him and he was 
in great demand. It was a new experience for him 
to address the refined audiences of the East, and he 
was a curiosity to the crowds who flocked to hear him. 
Taylor was elected and when he was inaugurated, 
Lincoln's term in Congress ended. 

While in Congress, Lincoln had opposed the war 
between the United States and Mexico ( 1846-1848) , 
which he thought was wrong, and he presented a bill, 
which did not pass, for doing away with slavery in the 
District of Columbia. 

At the close of his term in Congress, he returned to 
his law office in Springfield, where, for five years, his 
circle of acquaintances and his practice grew stead- 
ily. Again he traveled around the circuit with the 
judge and other lawyers and was heartily welcomed 


everywhere. He had a way of walking into a court- 
room and seeming to say, with a friendly look, "Here 
I am! — aren't you glad to see me?" Sometimes his 
clothes were wrinkled and shiny and, for want of a 
button, his suspenders might be fastened with a bit 
of stick, but he was never dirty nor unshaved. He 
wore either a flat straw hat, or a high, fuzzy beaver. 
He carried an old carpet-bag and a faded green cot- 
ton umbrella, marked inside, with white thread, "A. 
Lincoln." The knob had long been lost off the 
handle, and it was tied together with a string when 
not in use. 

He was offered a fine law partnership in Chicago, 
but he refused it, as he did not like city life. He 
never could bring himself to charge a large fee and 
so he was always poor. But he did not care for 
wealth, which he said "is simply a superfluity of 
things we don't need." 

Once an angry man wanted him to bring suit 
against a poor fellow who could not pay a bill 
amounting to $2.50. Lincoln took the case, charg- 
ing $10 as a "retainer" (part payment of fee in ad- 
vance) . He gave half of it to the poor debtor who 
paid the $2.50 he owed and the matter was ended. 
Lincoln would take a righteous case for nothing, but 
would refuse to take a case, unless he knew it to be 
just, no matter how large the fee might be. 

When he returned from Washington, he felt that 
he compared very poorly with the well-trained and 
well-educated lawyers he had met there. He was 
forty years old, but he took up the study of logic and 
mathematics to strengthen his powers of thinking 


and reasoning. After the day's work, he would lie 
in bed with a candle on a chair beside him, and study 
until late at night. 

Lincoln had a wonderful way of handling men 
and could always count on the sympathy of the jury. 
Once he was called upon by the widow of Jack Arm- 
strong — his New Salem boyhood friend — to defend 
her son Bill who was accused of murder. Lincoln be- 
lieved the boy to be innocent and he took the case. 
The chief witness said he had seen Bill kill the man, 
for it was bright moonlight. Lincoln made him re- 
peat this statement several times, and the case looked 
bad for Bill, until Lincoln opened an almanac and 
showed there had been no moon on the night in ques- 
tion ! Then he told the jury how good Bill's father 
and mother had been to him when he was poor and 
homeless, how well the boy had been brought up, 
and how positive he was of his innocence — how he 
had rocked Bill in his cradle. All the jurymen cried, 
and they finally set the boy free. 

Lincoln became known as one of the best lawyers 
in Illinois and was at length employed to take an 
important case in Cincinnati. The lawyer on the 
other side was a great man from the East, and Lincoln 
and his friends were delighted with this fine oppor- 
tunity. He studied very hard and was sure of suc- 
cess. But his client grew fearful about trusting his 
awkward country lawyer against the brilliant man 
on the opposing side and called in Edwin M. Stanton 
to assist. Stanton shut Lincoln completely out of the 
case. Lincoln heard him say, "Where did that lanky, 
long-armed creature come from?" Lincoln was hurt 



by this treatment, but he took the lesson to heart. 
He could not help his personal appearance, but he 
saw that the lawyers from the East were better 
trained than those in Illinois and said, "They study 
their cases as we never do — I am going home to 
study law — I am as good as any of them and when 
they come to Illinois, I shall be ready for them." 

-Q | TKe Lancoln. Tamtiy £J Q" 

The months slipped away in work and study. The 
Lincoln boys grew and found their father al- 
ways kind and indulgent. He loved to play with 
them or walk with them, and when they were little, 
would carry them on his back. They were always 
welcome in his office and he was glad to have them 


with him wherever he was. He seemed, at this time, 
to have lost interest in politics, and devoted much 
time to study for his great life-work, for which all the 
rest had been a preparation. For all his cheerful 
friendliness, Lincoln was really a lonely man, for he 
never shared his troubles, seldom took a friend into 
his confidence, nor told his hopes. He seemed to be 
waiting for some great task, and it came ! 

In March, 1854, Congress repealed the "Missouri 
Compromise." That was a law passed in 1820, 
allowing Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, 
but forbidding slavery in all other territory north of 
"Mason and Dixon's Line." That was the southern 
boundary line of Missouri, reaching westward to the 
Pacific Ocean. In 1850, by another compromise, 
California was admitted as a free state, while other 
territory taken in the Mexican War was allowed to 
have slavery. Every one thought this settled; but 
no question is ever settled till it is settled rightly. 
Slavery was wrong and had no right to exist in a 
country devoted to liberty. 

As new states began to form in the great Northwest, 
the South thought that Congress had no right to de- 
cide whether or not they should have slaves, but 
that each state should decide for itself. Under the 
leadership of the "little giant," Stephen A. Douglas, 
the Missouri Compromise was repealed, which meant 
that states north of Mason and Dixon's Line could 
have slaves if they wanted them. The North saw 
with horror that slavery would soon reach the west- 
ern plains and threaten freedom throughout the 
whole country. 


A whirlwind of protest arose. When Douglas re- 
turned to his home in Chicago, he was greeted with 
flags hung at half-mast and with tolling bells. A 
meeting was arranged for him, but the crowd re- 
ceived him with groans and hisses, which grew into 
roars whenever he tried to speak. Leaving Chi- 
cago, he passed through a frowning country, until he 
came to Springfield. There he was met by a tall, 
gaunt man, whose soul from youth had detested the 
cruelty of slavery — whose sad eyes now saw its black 
shadow threatening the free soil of the North. It 
was Abraham Lincoln, his heart hot with just anger 
and heavy with the great and solemn duty laid upon 
him — for he knew that he was called to be the cham- 
pion of Freedom. 

Douglas made a speech at Springfield, defending 
himself. Lincoln answered him and Douglas was 
amazed at his force and power. He spoke four hours 
and his statements were clear and just, his language 
eloquent and his earnestness intense. He had en- 
tered the contest with no thought of politics, but he 
became a candidate for the United States Senate, so 
as to be able to fight slavery in Congress. He found 
that five Democratic members of the legislature 
would not vote for him because he was a Whig, 
though they wanted a senator opposed to slavery. 
Lincoln at once put himself and party considerations 
aside and begged his friends and Whig followers to 
unite with the Democrats on some man who would 
vote against slavery. The people of his state appre- 
ciated his sacrifice and afterward the five Democrats 
became his devoted followers. 



While opposed to slavery, Lincoln did not yet 
think it possible or wise to free all the slaves at 
once. He simply said slavery was wrong and must 
not be allowed to spread into new territory, and as 

Xhe X/mcoln~Do*i$3s Deb aires 

soon and as justly as possible, the country must get 
rid of it entirely. 

Senator Douglas did not think slavery was right, 
but said each state had the right to decide for itself 
whether or not it should have slaves. Under his 
leadership in repealing the Missouri Compromise, 
Congress had given that right to Kansas. The 
people of Kansas who did not want slavery were 
trying to settle the question with those who did, and 
the result was a bloody conflict. 


In 1856, the Republican Party took the place of 
the Whigs and Lincoln became its leader in Illinois. 
At the Republican State Convention, he made a 
speech against slavery. His words were so wonder- 
ful that newspaper reporters' pencils fell unused 
from their fingers, as they, with the rest of the audi- 
ence, listened, charmed by the magic of his eloquence. 
When he finished, the people rose and cheered, and 
cheered again. Then it was found that no one had 
kept a record, and Mr. Lincoln could not recall what 
he had said. So it was called "The Lost Speech," 
but its spirit went with the delegates to the National 
Convention in Philadelphia. 

John C. Fremont, of California, was nominated for 
President by the Republicans and Lincoln received 
a large vote for Vice-President. When told of it, he 
said, "They couldn't have been thinking of me; the 
votes were for the great Lincoln from Massachu- 
setts." Rut the name of Abraham Lincoln had been 
brought before the Nation. 

James Buchanan, a Democrat and supporter of 
slavery, was elected (1856). Lincoln, who had 
made over fifty speeches against him, was not dis- 
couraged. He believed that, in the end, the people 
would vote right and put down slavery. Patience 
and perseverance, he felt, would win the cause. 

Two years later, Mr. Douglas asked the Democrats 
of Illinois to reelect him senator. He hoped to be 
made president sometime, and to that end, he kept 
both North and South thinking that he would use his 
great influence on their side of the slavery question. 
To win his election as senator from Illinois, he now 


quarreled with President Buchanan and took sides 
against slavery. Lincoln thought it was no time for 
personal consideration, when such a great question of 
right and wrong was before the people. The fight 
for freedom was on. He said to a friend, "I know 
there is a God and He hates injustice and slavery. 
I see the storm coming. I know His hand is in it. 
If He has a place for me, and I think He has, I am 
ready — I am nothing, but truth is everything." 

The Republicans decided to nominate Lincoln 
against Douglas. Asking no advice, talking with no 
one, he was seen to be thinking and now and then 
writing something on a paper, which he put into his 
great beaver hat. The day before the convention, he 
read to a few friends the speech he intended to make. 
He began by saying, "A house divided against itself 
cannot stand. I believe that this government cannot 
endure permanently half slave and half free. I do 
not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not ex- 
pect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to 
be divided." 

His friends warned him that such a frank speech 
would defeat his election, but his law partner, Wil- 
liam H. Herndon, said, "Deliver that speech and it 
will make you president." Lincoln's reply to his 
friends was, "The time has come when these senti- 
ments should be uttered and if it is decreed that I 
should go down because of this speech, then let me go 
down linked with the truth." He made the speech 
and men told him that he had thrown away the chance 
of a Republican victory and ruined his own fortunes. 
But he stood as immovable as a rock, knowing he had 



done right. His hope was anchored in the truth for 
which he spoke. 

Lincoln was still a poor and struggling country 
lawyer, without money, or any organized following. 
Douglas, four years younger, was brilliant, rich and 

T lie day before tke convention, 
he read to a feui friends 

successful, a man of the world, known on two con- 
tinents. He despised his awkward opponent and 
when opening the Democratic campaign in Chicago, 
spoke of Lincoln with contempt and made fun of his 
great speech. As Douglas passed through the state, 
his triumphs grew. Lincoln, referring to one of 
Douglas's attacks, said he wanted to act like "a gen- 
tleman in substance if not in outside polish. That I 


shall never be, but that which constitutes the inside 
of a gentleman, I hope I understand." It must have 
hurt him to be ridiculed by the man with whom he 
had started his career twenty years before and who 
now was so well-educated, well-dressed and success- 

In this campaign, Lincoln said, "You can fool all 
the people some of the time, and some of the people 
all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the 
time !" He said this because Douglas was going over 
the state, making brilliant speeches, and the people 
were wild with enthusiasm about him. But a think- 
ing man could not tell from his speeches what he 
really did believe. 

In order to hold him to a discussion of the real 
question and compel him to take a definite stand, 
Lincoln challenged Douglas to meet him in a de- 
bate. Douglas accepted and they arranged to ad- 
dress the same meetings in seven different towns in 
Illinois, each to speak for an hour and a half. The 
country was so stirred over these debates that re- 
porters were sent from such distant points as New 
York. Carloads of people from Chicago and other 
cities poured in for the first debate at Ottawa, August 
21, 1858. Country folks from forty or fifty miles 
around came on horseback or on foot, and camped 
about the town where the meeting was to be held. 

Douglas, the "little giant," was short, with broad 
shoulders and a large head. He was always fashion- 
ably dressed. His voice was commanding and could 
become a deep roar. He was the most skillful orator 
in his party. Lincoln was a foot taller than his 


opponent, his clothing hung loosely on his gaunt 
body. His heavy, dark hair tumbled about his head 
and he was stiff and awkward, until he forgot himself 
in speaking. He had no stage manners. His voice 
was high and at times, thin, but when his feelings 
were touched, it became musical. He played no 
tricks with words to keep people from knowing what 
he really believed. His language was direct, his 
purpose lofty, and his sense of justice made his words 
ring with truth. He wanted very much to be sen- 
ator, but he wanted more to right the wrong of slavery 
and to warn the people that it was a danger which 
was gaining hold upon them and would soon ruin the 

The night before the second debate, Lincoln showed 
his friends a question he meant to ask Douglas, 
namely: "Can the people of a United States terri- 
tory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citi- 
zen of the United States, exclude slavery from its 
limits, prior to the formation of a State Constitu- 
tion ?" They said, "If you ask that question, you can 
never be senator." He replied, "If Douglas answers 
it, he can never be president." Douglas answered 
"Yes," to please the people of Illinois and they re- 
elected him senator. But it cost him the friendship 
of the South, which he could never regain, and with- 
out the support of the South, he could not be made 

The battle of words between Douglas and Lincoln 
lasted three months. No other political meetings 
had ever so aroused the people of the entire country. 
Lincoln succeeded in bringing before them, in its 


true light, the whole question of slavery. Douglas 
had many advantages, but he was defending human 
slavery. Brilliant and successful though he was at 
that time, his name does not live among those of 
American heroes. But Lincoln, with the voice and 
spirit of a prophet of old, proclaimed liberty for the 
oppressed and fought for human rights. The pol- 
ished sentences of Douglas are forgotten. The 
heaven-inspired speeches of Lincoln remain to thrill 
the hearts of all lovers of freedom. 

Douglas traveled in the private car of a railroad 
president. A band of musicians went with him and 
a flat car carried a cannon to announce the arrival of 
his train. Lincoln found a seat wherever he could in 
the common coach and often had to sit up during a 
long night's trip. In addition to the seven great de- 
bates, each made over a hundred speeches throughout 
Illinois. Douglas spent $80,000. Lincoln's ex- 
penses amounted to $1000, which he could ill afford. 

The Republicans received a large vote, but Doug- 
las was chosen senator (1858). 

Walking home in the darkness and rain of election 
night, after hearing the returns, Lincoln slipped in 
the mud, but caught himself. He took it as a proph- 
ecy of the day and said, "It is a slip and not a fall." 





TION 1858-1861 


[HOUGH he was not 
elected senator, Lincoln 
became known in all parts 
of the country through 
these debates. Wherever Douglas 
spoke, Lincoln was called for and he 
made speeches in a number of states. 
k The next winter, he addressed a rich 
and cultured audience in Cooper 
Union, New York City. William 
Cullen Bryant, the poet, presided 
and Horace Greeley, the great editor, was there. 
Seeing how well dressed every one was, Lincoln, for 
the first time in his life, was worried because his coat 
fit so poorly. But when he began to speak, he forgot 
his appearance and no one thought of his clothes. 
Greeley said it was the best speech he had ever heard, 
and he had listened to Webster's best orations. In 
his address, Lincoln gave a clear statement of the 
principles of eternal justice. He closed by saying, 

4 'Let us have faith that right makes might and in that 



faith let us dare to do our duty as we understand it." 

After this meeting, he went to Boston to visit his 
son, Robert, who was at Harvard, and here, with his 
masterful oratory, he delighted audiences of college 
men as well as of working people. 

While in New York, he had dropped into a mission 
Sunday School in the Five Points. No one knew 
him, but he was asked to speak. The children lis- 
tened to his beautiful words, and his voice, which 
seemed soft and musical to them, held their fancy 
and when he stopped, they all begged, "Oh, go on — 
do go on !" As he left, some one asked his name and 
he said, "Abraham Lincoln of Illinois." 

The more his words were read by the Republican 
leaders, the more they thought of Lincoln, and began 
to talk of him as their next candidate for president. 
He said, "It is enough honor for me to be talked about 
for it." His highest hope for himself was to succeed 
Douglas as senator. 

Douglas was now in trouble, for what he had said 
in Illinois in answer to Lincoln's question had made 
the South very angry. Bold and shrewd as he was, 
he could not explain. He had made fun of Lincoln's 
saying, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," 
and now, hurrying through the South, he found his 
party was divided against itself and against him. 
The Democrats of the South were turning against 
those of the North on the question of slavery. They 
said they would not remain in the Union, if slavery 
were not made lawful throughout the country, or if a 
"Black Republican" — as they termed a man who be- 
lieved in the freedom of the colored people — were 


elected president. Douglas tried to keep his party 
together, but he had not been true to the South while 
seeking election in the North and this lost him the 
Southerners' support. He had gained the place of 
senator, but he had lost the prize for which all his 
life he had been working — that of the presidency. 
He was nominated by the Northern Democrats, but 
the Southern Democrats nominated another man, 
John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and the divided 
party faced defeat. 

When the Illinois Republican Convention met in 
May, i860, the Governor said there was an old 
Democrat outside who wanted to come in. The door 
was opened, and in walked John Hanks, Lincoln's 
cousin, with two old rails which Abe had split years 
before, and a banner with the words : 

"Abraham Lincoln 

The Rail Candidate 

For President 

In i860." 

The convention went wild with enthusiasm over their 
humble leader. The next week, the National Con- 
vention was held in Chicago, in a great wooden build- 
ing called "The Wigwam," where ten thousand peo- 
ple could assemble. 

William H. Seward, of New York, seemed likely 
to be nominated. He had wealth and influence on 
his side. Splendid bands and well-drilled clubs 
marched the streets of Chicago, flaunting banners 
with Seward's name. But Lincoln's friends were not 
idle. The city was full of Illinois men and they 


packed "The Wigwam," so that when Seward's fol- 
lowers arrived, there was room for the delegates 
(those sent to the convention to represent the people 
of their state) only. William M. Evarts presented 
Seward's name and it was loudly applauded. But 
when the convention heard Lincoln's name, there was 
an uproar such as had never been heard up to that 
time at a political assembly. The voting began, 
state by state — 233, out of the total 465 votes, being 
necessary for a choice. Some New England votes 
went to Lincoln, which disappointed Seward, but on 
the first ballot, Seward had 173^2 votes and Lincoln 
only 102. On the second ballot, Seward was only 
three and a half votes ahead of Lincoln. More East- 
ern states turned to Lincoln and on the third ballot, 
he lacked only a vote and a half of the 233. A deep 
silence fell. Every man paused, breathless, to see 
what would happen. Suddenly, a delegate from 
Ohio jumped upon a chair and announced that the 
four votes of that state would be changed and given 
to Lincoln. A teller (one who counts the ballots) 
shouted "Abe Lincoln !" to a man on the roof, who had 
been watching through a skylight, and in an instant, 
he had given the signal which set a cannon booming to 
tell the waiting crowds outside that Abraham Lincoln 
was nominated. Inside, state after state changed its 
vote, amid roars of wildest cheering, until Lincoln 
had 354 votes. Lincoln was not present, but was in 
Springfield, waiting in a newspaper office to hear the 
result. An excited messenger brought the news. 
Lincoln read the telegram out loud and said, "There 
is a little woman down at our house, who will like to 



hear this. I'll go down and tell her." This "little 
woman" — his wife — had always believed in his 

Lincoln was strangely filled with unhappiness, 
even in the midst of this success. For years, he had 
had a feeling that he would meet with a terrible death 
and it now came upon him more strongly, as in some 
way connected with this great honor. When the 
party leaders came from Chicago to greet him in his 
simple home, and formally announce to him that he 
was the choice of the convention, he at first seemed 
sorrowful and awkward. But when he spoke with 
them, his face lighted up, showing his great gentle- 
ness and strength, and he was soon at ease. Mrs. 
Lincoln greeted them and they drank toasts in water. 
Lincoln was a "temper- 
ance" man and would 
not change the habits 
of his life even on so 
great an occasion, 
though friends had sent 
him liquor for the pur- 

Up to this time, the 
affairs of the country 
had been managed by 
the East and South, the 
West taking very little 
part. Now the East 
was aghast, when it 

heard that the western TU is a little woman. 

rail-splitter was a can- doom at our house 

mho uml like to hear this 


didate for president. It seemed to the people there 
a rash choice in such anxious times. Men who had 
long guided the "Ship of State" feared that this new 
and untried pilot would not be able to navigate the 
troubled waters ahead. How little they realized 
that he alone was born for this great task ! Stephen 
A. Douglas assured the people of Washington that 
"a very able and a very honest man" had been 

There were four candidates for the presidency. 
Lincoln represented the Republicans, who believed 
that slavery was wrong and its spread should be pre- 
vented. Douglas represented those Democrats who 
would not say whether slavery was right or wrong, 
but thought each state should decide for itself. 
Breckinridge represented the Democrats who be- 
lieved that slavery was right and wanted it estab- 
lished in new states, and John Bell represented the 
peace party. From the first, Lincoln's election 
seemed certain. He remained quietly in Springfield, 
receiving many visitors, but refusing to make 
speeches. He read the newspapers, especially the 
ones opposed to him. It was his habit to want to 
know what were the objections to him, so that he 
could correct and overcome them. Reading the 
Southern papers, he saw the growing anger, often ex- 
pressed in fierce personal criticism of himself. Some 
of them, referring to his long arms, said his father was 
a gorilla from Africa. But he never made any 
reply, nor gave any sign that he had noticed these 
unkind things. 


While he held his peace, the whole North was in a 
blaze of enthusiasm over him. The men formed 
"Wide Awake Clubs," and tramped every night in 
torchlight processions, miles in length, a zigzag 
"rail fence march," in honor of "Honest old Abe, 
the rail-splitter of Sangamon." 

On the night of November 6th, i860, he sat with 
the operator in the little telegraph office in Spring- 
field and learned of his election. The affairs of the 
country were too troubled for him to be elated by his 
success. He knew that a crushing burden and an 
awful responsibility had been laid upon him. The 
Southern States had said they would leave the Union 
if he were elected. It was his duty to preserve the 
Union and it was also his duty to put down slavery. 

In selecting his cabinet (the men who were to help 
him, as heads of the different departments of the 
government) , he did not choose his personal friends 
and surround himself with advisers who would think 
as he did, but took the men who had different views 
and who he thought would be the best guides. He 
asked his great rival, William H. Seward, to be his 
Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase, to be Secretary 
of the Treasury, and Simon Cameron, to be Secretary 
of War. There were seven members, and only three 
had belonged to his old Whig party, the others were 
Democrats. Some former Whigs complained of this, 
but Lincoln smiled and said, as he had been a Whig, 
the cabinet was evenly divided! This shows how 
fair and wise he was. He never allowed himself to 
be controlled by party or personal reasons. 


A president is elected in November, but he does not 
actually take his place as head of the Nation until 
the fourth of the following March. Usually this in- 
terval is a time of pleasant waiting and preparation. 
For Lincoln, the four months were filled with anxiety. 
The Southern states talked of founding an empire 
of their own, where they could keep their slaves un- 

South Carolina was the first state to withdraw from 
the Union (December 20, i860) after the Republi- 
can victory. Other states followed, all adopting the 
"Ordinance of Secession" and declaring they were no 
longer in the Union. Army and Navy officers in the 
Southern states gave up to the "rebels," as they were 
now called, forts, arsenals, navy yards, ships, mints 
and quantities of supplies. There was one excep- 
tion. Major Robert Anderson, though a Virginian, 
loyally held Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor (South 
Carolina) . 

President James Buchanan, who was president be- 
fore Lincoln, had sworn to protect the government, 
but he took no notice of these actions. Lincoln could 
only look on and wait, knowing that when his time 
should come, he would meet the raging storm and 
hold a straight course. 

Up to that time, the people had not thought a great 
deal about the Union, probably because they had not 
been called upon to make any sacrifice for it. The 
South regarded it lightly. In the North, there were 
plenty of Republicans who wanted to let the slave 
states go their own way — men like Horace Greeley 


and Henry Ward Beecher, brother of Mrs. Stowe 
who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Some said "Let 
the Union slide" and General Winfield Scott, head of 
the army, advised letting the "wayward sisters go in 
peace." The Mayor of New York even suggested 
that it would do well to withdraw and let New York 
govern itself as a free city. 

All this was very bad for business and many wanted 
to abandon the dispute and allow the country to 
quiet down. They were even sorry they had elected 
Lincoln, blaming him for all these troubles. 

On February 8th, 1861, the leaders of the Southern 
people met at Montgomery, Alabama, and formed a 
government which they called "The Confederate 
States of America," with slavery as its "corner- 
stone." Jefferson Davis was chosen President and 
Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President. 

Davis was born in Kentucky and had lived in the 
next county to Lincoln when they were little boys. 
Beginning so near together, their lives had been very 
different, like two small streams which rise near the 
summit of a mountain and flow down opposite sides. 
One waters a fair and flowery plain, and the other 
falls and twists among dark rocks and winding 
gorges. Davis was educated at West Point by the 
government. Money and high office and social po- 
sition were his. We know how little Lincoln had re- 
ceived from his country and we know that he had 
lacked every advantage. Yet now he was ready to 
give his life for the Union whose own son was ready 
to destroy it. 


Lincoln believed that the government had the right 
and the power to hold all the states together and that 
no state had a right to break the bond of union and 
withdraw. His friends, anxious to avoid a conflict, 1 
would have been glad to arrange a compromise with 
the slave states. But Lincoln would not consent to 
any arrangement that was not founded on the truth. 
He said, "The instant you do, they have us under 
again and all our labor is lost. The tug has come and 
better now than later. Hold firm as a chain of steel." 

During the winter of waiting, Lincoln's partner 
wrote to a great Republican: "Lincoln is a man of 
heart, as gentle as a woman's and as tender, but he has 
a will as strong as iron. He loves all mankind and 
hates slavery and all kinds of despotism. On a ques- 
tion of justice, right, liberty, the government, the 
Constitution and the Union, you may all stand aside; 
he will rule and no man will rule him. You must 
keep the people right. God will keep Lincoln right." 
Throughout all the disturbance, Lincoln never lost 
sight of his duty to preserve the Union. 

The seceding states were trying to coax Virginia 
and Maryland to join them. If they did, Washing- 
ton would be cut off from the North and made the 
Southern capital. As the winter advanced, it looked 
doubtful if the government would be in Washington 
in March. 

This all happened before March, 1861, when 
Lincoln was to take up his duties as president. In 
his quiet Springfield home, he watched the situation 
with anxious thoughts and prepared his inaugural ad- 
dress. As the time for leaving Springfield drew near, 



he and Mrs. Lincoln went to Chicago and she bought 
the first silk dress she ever had. Lincoln then went to 
say good-by to his stepmother, who had always been 
so kind to him. She parted from him sadly, fearing 
some evil would befall him. 

Lincoln's nouit in springfield. 




ARMS l86l-l863 

ON his last day in Springfield, Abraham 
Lincoln went up to his dingy old office to 
talk with his law partner, Mr. Herndon. 
They had never had a "cross word" 
and Lincoln told him to let the rusty old sign 

T/et tke rusrty old sign hang 
until X can come back and practice latu. 7 


Lincoln's Inauguration as President 

(March 4, 1861) 


hang till he could come back and go on practicing law, 
as if nothing had happened. But as he passed out 
under the creaking sign, he looked about the old place 
and said he believed he would never see it again. 

On the day before his fifty-second birthday, a 
special train carried him away with his family and a 
few friends. A thousand friends were at the station 
to say farewell. The conductor had his hand upon 
the bell-rope, when Mr. Lincoln stepped upon the 
rear platform and raised his hand for silence. Snow 
was falling, but all bared their heads. He gazed at 
his old friends, his lips quivering, tears flowing down 
his cheeks. In a husky voice, he said : 

"My Friends — No one not in my situation can 
appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. 
To this place and the kindness of these people I owe 
everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a cen- 
tury and have passed from a young to an old man. 
Here my children have been born and one is buried. 
I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may 
return, with a task before me greater than that which 
rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of 
that Divine Being Who ever attended him, I cannot 
succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trust- 
ing to Him Who can go with me, and remain with 
you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently 
hope that all will yet be well. To His care com- 
mending you, as I hope in your prayers you will com- 
mend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell." 

The train pulled out and the people watched him 
through their tears, till he disappeared from their 
sight. It was a sad parting, but how much more sad 


it would have been if they had known that his voice 
was heard for the last time in the little town! 

The journey eastward was wonderful. Lincoln, on 
the whole, was very little known. The Douglas de- 
bates had brought his name before the people, but he 
really had sprung out of darkness into the light of 
the presidency. From the time of his nomination, 
nine months before, he had not appeared publicly nor 
made any addresses. Naturally, every one was eager 
to see him. In the cities, the throngs were almost un- 
manageable. Whenever it was possible, as they 
passed through the villages, he appeared on the plat- 
form of the train and delivered a few words of greet- 
ing. In the capitals of Indiana, Ohio, New York, 
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and in Cincinnati, 
Cleveland, Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia, 
stops of a day or two were made, giving time for 
speeches, receptions and parades. A little girl had 
written to him from North East — a station between 
Erie (Pa.) and Buffalo (N. Y.,) during the cam- 
paign, saying she thought he would look better with a 
beard. When he passed through the town where she 
lived, he asked that a stop be made. He called for 
her and told her, "You see, Grace, I have let these 
whiskers grow for you!" 

New York City received Lincoln coldly, for his 
election had worked havoc with business. But "the 
common people heard him gladly." In all his ad- 
dresses, Lincoln pleaded for the life of the Union, as 
the fairest hope of Freedom on the earth. He hoped 
the Union might be saved peaceably, but he said "it 
may be necessary to put the foot down firmly." 


He reached Philadelphia on Washington's birth- 
day and spoke in Independence Hall. Then he went 
to Harrisburg. The next day, he was due in Wash- 
ington, but to reach there, had to pass through hostile 
Baltimore. In those days, the railroad cars were 
drawn by horses across the city of Baltimore, and this 
would give opportunity for an attack by a mob. 
Lincoln's friends were informed that there was a plot 
to kill him and they insisted upon his passing through 
Baltimore quietly on a night train. He hated to 
creep past any danger and steal into the capital like 
a thief in the night, but he yielded to their wishes. 
Wearing a soft hat and carrying his old gray shawl 
over his arm, he and a friend left Harrisburg secretly 
and took a night train. The friend was a giant 
lawyer from the Illinois circuit. He was loaded with 
weapons. The telegraph lines were cut, so that no 
messages could be sent to Baltimore notifying it of 
Lincoln's coming. He passed unrecognized through 
the sleeping city and at dawn took a carriage to a 
hotel in Washington. The wires were repaired and 
the anxious family in Harrisburg was relieved by a 
message that the journey had been made in safety. 
They followed in the special train, no longer fearing 
any violence. 

The welcome to Washington was not encouraging. 
It was really a Southern city of slave holders, who 
hoped that it would soon become the Confederate 
capital. The Democratic party had been in power 
for sixty years and they could not see how this new 
party of the North and the rude West could rule in 
their fair city. 


Lincoln spent a week exchanging the usual official 
visits with President Buchanan and others. On the 
morning of the fourth of March, 1861, the White 
House carriage drew up before Lincoln's hotel. 
President Buchanan, a courtly gentleman, called for 
Mr. Lincoln, who appeared in a new black suit and 
high silk hat, carrying a gold-headed cane. 

There had been fear of trouble from the unfriendly 
crowds in the city. General Winfield Scott — the 
great military leader of the time — Commander of the 
Army of the U. S., had closed all the saloons and sta- 
tioned troops to prevent disorder. 

President Buchanan and Mr. Lincoln rode side by 
side along Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, be- 
tween double lines of cavalry, with soldiers marching 
before and behind them. Riflemen kept watch from 
roofs overlooking the Avenue. There was great re- 
lief when the journey of a mile had ended. 

At noon, a great crowd heard Lincoln's clear voice 
deliver his inaugural address, as he stood in the 
east portico of the Capitol, surrounded by the highest 
officers of the government. A battalion of soldiers 
was at hand, riflemen were posted in the windows and 
a battery of artillery was in the rear. This prepared- 
ness assured a peaceful day. 

As Lincoln rose to speak, he took off his new hat 
and looked for a place to rest it. His life-long rival, 
the great Democrat, Douglas, stood near and quickly 
reached out his hand, took the hat and held it. In so 
doing, he gave notice that the President was his 
friend and he meant to stand by him. 

When the speech was over, Chief Justice Taney 


arose, Lincoln laid his hand upon the open Bible and 
swore to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitu- 
tion of the United States." 

The crowd cheered, and cannon boomed as Presi- 
dent Lincoln and Mr. Buchanan drove back to the 
White House. 

No president had ever before been inaugurated 
with half the country hostile to him. The joy of the 
honor was clouded by the sad thought of discord 
dividing the Union. From the time of Washington, 
each president had seen the stars increase in the 
flag. Would Lincoln be able to hold together the 
states under that constellation? 

The inaugural address was full of friendliness to 
the South, pleading for peace and the Union. "We 
are not enemies, but friends," he said. "We must not 
be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it 
must not break our bond of affection. The mystic 
chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield 
and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth- 
stone all over the broad land, will yet swell the 
chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely 
they will be, by the better angels of our nature." 

But the South was too angry to hear his message of 
peace and good-will. The Southern people knew 
that he believed slavery was wrong and would never 
consent to its increase. Seven states, South Carolina, 
Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida 
and Texas, with seven millions of people, had already 
withdrawn from the Union and hauled down the 
Stars and Stripes within their borders. Their sena- 
tors left Congress, for they now regarded the United 


States as a "foreign nation." It was not a sudden re- 
volt, but a step taken after years of discussion. The 
Southern leaders had long planned an empire, built 
on slavery, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and ex- 
tending even to the rich fields and mines of South 
America. If the North would not agree, then they 
would leave the North and carry out their plans 

The rebellion might have been stopped if President 
Buchanan had acted with firmness in the last months 
of his presidency. But he was not loyal to the 
Union and did not oppose the friends of slavery. 
When Lincoln came into office, the best he could 
hope to do was to avoid war. No American ever had 
such a burden laid upon him. To him the presidency 
was not a crown of glory, but a cross of duty. He 
faced his responsibilities with faith and patience and 
courage. But who would be his helpers'? The 
members of his cabinet did not believe the Union 
could be maintained and all dreaded to start a con- 
flict. The Republican leaders had not yet learned to 
trust their President, who was so different from any 
man they had ever known. They did not under- 
stand Lincoln and feared that maybe the affairs of 
the distracted Nation had been put into the wrong 

Before a month had passed, Seward had actually 
offered to take charge of the government for Lincoln, 
telling him it was a mistake he had been elected. 
This would have made any other man than Lincoln 
angry. But he replied in a firm and dignified way 
and won the respect and friendship and loyalty of 



Mr. Seward. Lincoln was never afraid of anybody, 
nor disturbed by the fact that a man was famous. 
He dealt with well-known statesmen and honored 
generals with quiet self-reliance. To him all men, 
rich and poor, humble and great, were on a level with 

sliot from, a rebel 
battery opened 
-the Civil War 

himself. He kept his heart open to the mass of the 
people and believed that they would stand by him. 
Firm support came to him from an unexpected source, 
for Douglas became his sincere and loyal follower. 

The day after his inauguration, word reached Lin- 
coln that Major Anderson, gallantly holding Fort 
Sumter, must surrender if he did not receive supplies. 
General Scott said the country had no force able to 


carry food to the fort. He and the cabinet advised 
the surrender of the fort. Lincoln would not con- 
sent and in a few days, he notified the Confederates 
that a ship carrying food, but no soldiers, was on its 
way to relieve Fort Sumter. If they allowed the ship 
to pass, it would be well. But if they fired at her, 
the blame for beginning a war would be on them. 

As the ship approached, General Pierre G. T. Beau- 
regard, in command of the Southerners, called on 
Major Anderson to surrender. This, of course, he re- 
fused to do. In the gray dawn of April 12th, 1861, 
a shot from a rebel battery opened the Civil War. 
The provision ship outside the harbor bar watched 
the fort as it was pounded to pieces. The flag-staff 
was shot away and the buildings took fire, but An- 
derson held out a day and a half, almost without food, 
until his ammunition was gone. 

The news that Sumter had fallen awakened the Na- 
tion. The South was in a tumult of joy. The North 
sprang up in fury when the flag was trailed in the 
dust. Leaders in Washington hurried to the White 
House, where they found Lincoln cool and steady. 
Douglas hastened to his side, and by his prompt and 
glowing patriotism, pledged the support of the Dem- 
ocrats of the North. He had not been right on the 
question of slavery and had not always been straight- 
forward in his politics, but when real trouble came, 
he was loyal to the Union. He turned his gift of 
oratory to its service and at once started out to direct 
the call on the North to be true to the Union. "There 
can be no neutrals in this war," he said, "only pa- 
triots and traitors!" Death overtook him in a few 


short weeks and ended his valiant labors, but not 
before he had sent his followers marching eagerly to 
the defense of the country. 

The day^ after the surrender of Fort Sumter, the 
President issued a call to arms, summoning seventy- 
five thousand militia to enlist for three months. 
When it was necessary to 'put the foot down firmly," 
he lost no time, but took up his responsibility and, 
without waiting to assemble Congress, at once is- 
sued all necessary orders. The regular army was 
less than twenty thousand, rank and file, and there 
was almost no navy. The yearly revenue (income) 
of the government was far too small to carry on a war 
and Lincoln called for men, money and ships. Some 
had doubted the fighting spirit of the North and were 
amazed at its enthusiastic response to the President's 

In every town and village, drums beat and patri- 
otic meetings were held. Three times as many men 
were offered as were called for. The trouble was 
to make use of all the patriotic material at hand. 
Delaware sent only a few men. Maryland said no 
Union soldier should cross her "sacred soil." The 
Governor of Kentucky sent word, "Kentucky will 
furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing 
her sister Southern states." The Governor of Mis- 
souri said, "Not one man will Missouri send to carry 
on such an unholy crusade." North Carolina, Ten- 
nessee and Virginia joined the Confederacy, whose 
flag now flaunted eleven stars, and Jefferson Davis 
said it would soon float over Washington. 

Half the naval officers went with the South, tak- 



ing the best of the ships. A third or more of the army 
officers went with them. Robert E. Lee said he 
would "follow Virginia, right or wrong." He was 
the son of "Light Horse Harry" Lee, illustrious for 
his service in the Revolution. His wife was the 

e ca 

ill to Arms 

daughter of George Washington's adopted son. He 
became commander of the Confederate Army. 

But there were other Southern officers, Scott and 
George H. Thomas and David G. Farragut (admiral 
of the navy) , who remained true to the Union in the 
face of temptation. Scott said, "I have served my 
country under the flag of the Union for more than 
fifty years and, as long as God permits me to live, I 
will defend that flag with my sword." 

Lincoln was proud of the little regular army, six- 


teen thousand enlisted men, for though their officers 
left, not one man forsook the colors ! But the army 
was widely scattered, protecting the frontiers against 
the Indians. 

The Confederates had an army in Charleston large 
enough to take the city of Washington, which had 
only a small guard. General Scott barricaded the 
public buildings with barrels of scrap iron and sand 
bags. The volunteers from the Eastern states has- 
tened to the capital. Four hundred men from Phila- 
delphia soon arrived. The first to start was the Mas- 
sachusetts militia. Governor Andrews, foreseeing 
trouble, had been preparing for months, though he 
had been laughed at by the people of Boston. When 
the President's order came, he called out his well- 
drilled, well-equipped regiments. A storm raged, 
but they poured into Boston and in forty-eight hours 
were on their way to the capital. 

Maryland had said they should not cross her bor- 
ders. But Lincoln said that no soil was too good for 
the feet of his soldiers and, as they could neither "fly 
over nor burrow under" Maryland, the Massachu- 
setts troops were taken through Baltimore. The mob 
attacked the "Yankee invaders" and their blood 
stained the city streets. They reached Washington 
with their wounded, but bridges and tracks were de- 
stroyed to prevent any other forces crossing Mary- 
land. Washington was cut off from the North. 
Lincoln anxiously awaited more troops and was heard 
to say to himself, "Why don't they come! Why 
don't they come!" Families began to leave the city 
and Mrs. Lincoln was urged to take her two little 


boys and go also. But she would not leave her hus- 
band in danger. 

At last, after some delay, troops came by way of 
Annapolis, Maryland, and the renowned Seventh 
Regiment of New York marched in with bands play- 
ing and colors flying. Others followed and soon 
twenty thousand defenders were in the city. 

It soon appeared that the war would last more 
than three months. Raw recruits could not be made 
into soldiers in a few weeks, no matter how brave they 
were. Another call was made for men who would 
enlist for three years, or as long as the war should 
last. Lincoln said, "We must not forget that the 
people of the seceded states, like those of the loyal 
ones, are Americans. Man for man, the soldiers of 
the South will be a match for those of the North." 

The revenue of the country was small, and its 
credit low. Money had to be found, ships bought 
and built, arms and uniforms made. Through all 
this, the North stood by the President. As weeks 
went on, he proved that in wisdom and courage and 
strength, he was above all his advisers. In matters 
of which he had hitherto known nothing, his great 
mind led him to sure conclusions. So much had to be 
decided and done at once, and as no other President 
ever had such duties, Lincoln had to go forward like 
a pioneer in the forest. The members of his cabinet 
were perplexed by these new problems. The Nation, 
wholly unprepared, had to be made ready for war. 

In the midst of all these difficulties, Lincoln was 
beset by men asking for offices. There had never 
been such a scramble for positions ! For months, men 



swarmed around him like gnats. But he handled 
them with such good humor that it seemed to some, 
at times, as if he had forgotten the serious work in 
hand. But he never did forget it, night or day. 






ANT-GENERAL — Lincoln's address at Gettysburg 

AS though there were not distress enough at 
home, affairs abroad grew troublesome. 
England "recognized the belligerent (war- 
ring) rights" of the South, and this made 
matters worse for the government. Mr. Seward, Sec* 

"Figkfring Phil 

Two t« 

wo tamous 



enera Is 

ft '» *. 

Lincoln at Antietam (Maryland) 

(October 3, 1862) 


retary of State, prepared a protest, in which he an- 
grily said that we had beaten the British in two wars, 
and could do it again, or any European nation. Lin- 
coln knew nothing of diplomacy, but he did know 
human nature, and his common-sense suggestions so 
changed Seward's paper that it was stronger and, at 
the same time, kept peace with England. 

Washington was really an outpost on the border 
of the North, surrounded by Southern territory, and 
would be cut off entirely if Maryland joined the Con- 
federacy. Here again, Lincoln's common sense and 
reasonable patience won a victory for his cause. He 
persuaded the people of Maryland to stay with the 
Union. He was so anxious to keep his native state 
that some one said, "He would like to have God on 
his side, but he must have Kentucky!" In the end, 
he won Kentucky, Delaware and Missouri without a 

The Confederates had made their capital at Rich- 
mond, a hundred miles from Washington and their 
outposts drew nearer and nearer, till Lincoln could 
see their flags floating at Alexandria, across the Po- 
tomac River. 

When Congress assembled, July 4th, it found three 
hundred thousand men enlisted. It approved every- 
thing Lincoln had done and was anxious for the fight- 
ing to begin. Skirmishes had been going on, here 
and there, for weeks, but on July 21st (1861), the 
first real battle took place, the Battle of Bull Run, 
at Manassas (Virginia) , thirty-two miles from Wash- 

It was a bright, hot Sunday and people flocked out, 


as though going to a picnic, to see an easy victory 
by their soldiers. The President went to church. 
During the afternoon, reports of success were brought 
to him, but at six o'clock, Mr. Seward rushed in with 
the news "the battle is lost!" The army was in full 
retreat, pouring into the city with the crowds of sight- 
seers, through the mud of a summer rain. 

Lincoln received the news without a word or sign of 
disappointment, but through the lorlg hours of a 
sleepless night,- he saw more fully the awful price 
which must be paid to save the Union. When morn- 
ing came, it found him with added strength and pur- 
pose to go on. 

The Confederate Army was too badly crippled by 
this battle, to make any advance for several months. 
The North was stunned by the defeat. It shook the 
faith and courage of many. Horace Greeley wrote 
to Lincoln to give up the needless struggle. There 
was a division of opinion among the people as to how 
the war should be managed. Lincoln and his cabinet 
were criticised and blamed. But Lincoln endured 
abuse and disappointment with patient fortitude and 
held on his way. When his reason showed him 
the right path, his feet followed it bravely and he 
never lost faith that right would triumph in the 

The attention of the country was largely turned to 
the two capitals and the cries, "On to Washington!" 
and "On to Richmond!" Yet, the battleground of 
the rebellion was not confined to the East and the 
South, but stretched westward and included the Mis- 
sissippi valley, and beyond it, to the Rocky Moun- 


tains. During four years, a battle, great or small, 
was fought nearly every day in some part of this big 
territory. Every day of fighting cost two million dol- 
lars. In the end, slavery, for which the South fought, 
was abolished. The Union, for which the North 
struggled, was maintained. 

The day after the Battle of Bull Run, Lincoln ap- 
pointed General George B. McClellan head of the 
defeated Army of the Potomac. He was a brilliant 
young officer, a graduate of West Point, and had re- 
signed a railroad presidency and a salary of $10,000 
to serve the Union. He had been leading successful 
skirmishes in the West and was a popular hero. The 
people called him the "young Napoleon" and ex- 
pected great things from him. 

With splendid ability, he organized the troops into 
a fine army of 150,000 men and surrounded Wash- 
ington with a chain of strong forts. Success and 
praise made him conceited, however, and he treated 
the President with disrespect, called the cabinet 
"geese" and forced General Scott to resign. Hav- 
ing created a fine army, he would not use it. The 
saying, "All quiet along the Potomac," became a 
joke, when the people were clamoring to have some- 
thing accomplished. The President stood by him for 
fourteen months, in spite of the growing impatience 
of the people; though he once said, "If General Mc- 
Clellan doesn't want to use his army, I'd like to 
borrow it!" Always having a larger force than Lee, 
McClellan refused to attack him, and he found fault 
with everybody. 

While waiting for McClellan to act, more trouble 


with England arose and again Lincoln's firmness and 
prudence settled it. Early in the war, Lincoln had 
ordered the navy to blockade the Southern ports. 
This made it difficult for Southern ships to carry cot- 
ton to England. Their cotton mills closed and thou- 
sands of English people were thrown out of work. 
There was great danger that England would recog- 
nize the Confederacy as a new nation and thus help 
it fight the North. 

In the midst of this worry, Captain Charles Wilkes, 
commanding the San Jacinto, stopped a British ship, 
the Trent, and took off two men, James M. Mason 
and John Slidell, who had been sent to England as 
messengers from the Confederacy. Wilkes was 
praised throughout the country for his "brave and 
patriotic action." But he had broken the interna- 
tional law and Lincoln gave the men up when Eng- 
land demanded them. The people resented this 
action, but the President had done right and after a 
time his course was approved. 

While the splendid Army of the Potomac was keep- 
ing its arms and uniforms bright and enjoying the 
social life of Washington, an unknown and silent 
soldier led such troops as he had against Fort Donel- 
son (February, 1862) , in Tennessee, demanding "un- 
conditional surrender." He took fifteen thousand 
prisoners, four thousand horses, and quantities of 
guns and supplies. In two months more, the Stars 
and Stripes were floating over Memphis and New 
Orleans. Like McClellan, he was a graduate of 
West Point, but he had no vanity; only a steadfast 
will to do the best he could with the material he had. 



His victories gladdened the heart of the Nation. 
We shall hear more of this soldier later. 

Lincoln found he needed a more efficient Secre- 
tary of War. He selected as the best man for the 
place Edwin M. Stanton, the lawyer, who, with cruel 

tiie IM^rrimae and the Monitor 

ridicule, had barred Lincoln out of the law case in 
Cincinnati a few years before. Stanton was a Demo- 
crat who had criticised him without mercy. But Lin- 
coln showed himself, as usual, above all personal re- 

Knowing nothing of the art of war, the President 
studied and mastered its principles, so that he was 
called "the ablest strategist of the war." The Pres- 


ident of the United States is always the Commander- 
in-Chief of the Army and Navy. John Ericsson, a 
ship builder, had come to Washington with the model 
of a queer little boat, looking 'like a cheese-box on a 
raft." It was a floating battery. Lincoln's advisers 
thought it would sink and were sure it could never 
make a journey by sea; but he had great hope in it 
and ordered one built in the shipyard in Connecti- 

One day, a Confederate ship, the Merrimac, ap- 
peared in Hampton Roads (Va.) . It had been cov- 
ered with iron and meant destruction to all wooden 
ships. Two such, of the Union Navy, were attacked 
and sunk. But that very evening, Ericsson's new 
steamship, the Monitor^ steamed into the Roads. 
The next morning, the two little "monsters" attacked 
each other and the first battle of the world between 
iron-clads was fought (March 9, 1862). The Mer- 
rimaC) much battered, withdrew to the Norfolk Navy 
Yard, leaving the Monitor unharmed. 

Lincoln's patience with General McClellan finally 
came to an end and he put General John Pope in his 
place. Pope was quickly defeated at a second bat- 
tle of Bull Run, and Lee marched up the Shenan- 
doah Valley (West Virginia) to invade the North. 
The Union Army was in disorder and Lincoln called 
upon McClellan, the master of discipline, to organize 
it again. McClellan won a victory at Antietam 
(Md.) Sept. 17, 1862, though he did not follow it up, 
and he let Lee escape. Lincoln again removed him 
and put General Ambrose E. Burnside in command, 
who was badly beaten at Fredericksburg (Virginia) . 


"Fighting Joe" Hooker was next appointed and Lin- 
coln begged him to "go forward and give us vic- 
tories." But his answer was the dreadful defeat at 
Chancellorsville, Virginia. (May 1-4, 1863.) 

The year 1862 had been hard and disappointing in 
many ways, yet when the President called for another 
hundred thousand men, the people responded, "We 
are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand 

Lincoln had for years thought that the best way to 
get rid of slavery was by paying their owners to free 
the slaves. In money alone, this would have cost 
far less than the war. But the South was unwilling. 
In the summer of 1862, Congress freed all the slaves 
in the District of Columbia, paying $300 for each one. 
Lincoln now felt it was his duty to free all the slaves, 
so that if the South was defeated, slavery would be 
ended. He promised God that if He would show 
favor to the Union cause by giving a victory, he 
would free the slaves. So, on September 22, 1862, 
after the Battle of Antietam, he read to his cabinet 
the Proclamation of Emancipation. The first day of 
the next January, he signed this great paper as simply 
as though it were a letter to a friend. This declared 
all slaves free in all the territory held by the Con- 

The summer of 1863 marked the turning point in 
the war. Lee had so easily beaten large Union 
armies that he decided again to invade the North. 
With seventy-five thousand men, he marched into 
Pennsylvania. Pursued by General George G. 
Meade with the Union Army, he turned and faced him 



at Gettysburg. For three days, the beautiful fields 
and hillsides were the scene of a terrible battle. On 
July 3 (1863), victory came to the Union, but Lee 
was allowed to march back to Richmond, to Lincoln's 
great disappointment. 

Tne first draft of tine 
Emancipation. Proclamation, 

The President wondered if he would never find a 
general who would do thoroughly what he wanted 
done ! There was such a man working away, — down 
on the Mississippi River — Ulysses S. Grant, the man 
who had taken Fort Donelson and who asked nothing 
but a chance to fight, while the generals in Washing- 
ton quarreled for promotion and waited for rein- 
forcements and supplies. When Grant began to at- 
tract attention, his superior officers claimed the credit 


of his victories. But he worked right along, faring 
like his soldiers, often sleeping on the ground with- 
out a blanket. Jealous persons accused him falsely 
of drunkenness and asked Lincoln to remove him. 
But the President said, "I can't spare that man; he 
fights ! I would like to find out what kind of whisky 
Grant drinks, so that I could feed it to my other gen- 

On the day after the Battle of Gettysburg, the f ort- 
ress of Vicksburg (Miss.) surrendered to Grant after 
a patient and daring campaign. The loss to the Con- 
federacy was terrific, for it completely closed to them 
the Mississippi River and the country beyond it, 
from which their supplies came. Lincoln began to 
feel that Grant was a soldier after his own heart. 
Aided by Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas and Hooker, he 
continued his victories. After the Battle of Vicks- 
burg, the people demanded that he be made head of 
the army. It was decided to reward him by making 
him Lieutenant-General, a rank held only by Wash- 
ington and Scott. 

Grant went to Washington, and at a large recep- 
tion, the President met his Soldier for the first time. 
Grant was embarrassed by the attention he received, 
for, like Washington, his "modesty equaled his 

He did not remain in the capital to be petted by 
society. When Lincoln handed him his commission 
and asked if he could take Richmond, Grant said, 
"Yes, if I have soldiers enough." He gave his whole 
attention to the task and worked at it for more than 
a year. It was a grim struggle and all the losses of 



the first three years of the war were small when com- 
pared with the losses of the closing year. At last, the 
brilliant Southern general, Lee, had met his match in 
persistence, skill and daring. Lee's army was only 
half the size of Grant's, but every Southern soldier 
had the strength of two in the proud knowledge that, 
for three years, the South had held Richmond, the 
capital of the Confederacy. But Grant met this 
pride with a grim, determined will to overcome it 9 
such as they had not yet found in any Union com- 

In speaking of 
Grant, Lincoln said 
to a friend: "Grant 
is the first general 
I've had. He's a 
general! You 
know how it's been 
with all the rest. 
As soon as I put a 
man in command of 
the army, he'd come 
to me with the plan 
of a campaign and 
put the responsibil- 
ity of success or 
failure on me. 
They all wanted me 
to be general. Now, it isn't so with Grant. He 
hasn't told me what his plans are. I don't know and 
I don't want to know. I am glad to find a man who 
can go ahead without me." 

.dimral David G ♦Tarragut 


In the autumn (Nov. 19) of 1863, a multitude of 
people gathered at Gettysburg to dedicate the cem- 
etery where thousands of men, who had fallen in 
the memorable battle, were buried. Edward Ev- 
erett, President of Harvard, made a long and elo- 
quent address. Lincoln had been asked to "make a 
few remarks." The people stood on tiptoe in the 
crowd, to see "Father Abraham," and before they had 
turned their thoughts from his careworn face to the 
words he was saying, he sat down. He felt that his 
brief address had been a failure. Seward said it 
was, and every one was disappointed. But it was 
because their ears were not then tuned to hear it. 
When it was printed, the whole world wondered at 
its beauty and power. Everett's speech is forgotten, 
but Lincoln's will remain as long as the English lan- 
guage endures. It is inscribed on the walls of one of 
the colleges in Oxford (England) and should be in 
the memory of every American boy and girl. — 

"Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers 
brought forth on this continent a new nation, con- 
ceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition 
that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged 
in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or 
any other nation so conceived and so dedicated, can 
long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of 
that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of 
that field, as a final resting-place for those who here 
gave their lives that that nation might live. 

"It is altogether fitting and proper that we should 
do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — 
we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this 


ground. The brave men, living and dead, who 
struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor 
power to add or detract. The world will little note, 
nor long remember what we say here, but it can never 
forget what they did here. 

"It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated 
here to the unfinished work which they who fought 
here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather 
for us to be here dedicated to the great task remain- 
ing before us — that from these honored dead we take 
increased devotion to that cause for which they gave 
the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly 
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — 
that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of 
freedom — and that government of the people, by the 
people, for the people, shall not perish from the 

Lincoln Delivering his Gettysburg Address 

(November 19, 1863) 






THE war lasted so long that it wore upon the 
people. The government was forced to 
draft men for Grant's army in the campaign 
against Richmond. This distressed Lin- 
coln. At the 
same time, 
other difficult 
arose. He had 
to consider 
how the states 
already sub- 
dued should 
be governed, 
and what plan 
could be de- 
vised for re- 
ceiving the re- 
bellious states 
back into the 
Union, after 
the war, so as 
to restore 

Iramp, tramp, tramp, 
die boys are marching — • 



peace and harmony and prosperity to the Republic. 

There were many good men, horrified at the awful 
cost of the war in blood and money, who wanted to 
make peace at any price. They were called "Copper- 
heads," because they cut the head of Liberty from a 
copper cent and wore it as a badge. Lincoln paid 
no more heed to them than he did to other false ad- 
visers. He was guided by his conscience, and in none 
of these difficult problems did he allow politicians 
to rule him. 

In 1864, Lincoln's presidential term of four years 
was up, and to the struggle of 1864, the excitement 
of a bitter presidential campaign was added. Lin- 
coln was cruelly criticised and ridiculed, but he 
never complained. He said, "A man has no time to 
spend his life in quarrels." The Union was his only 
care; he thought not of his party, nor of himself. 
Many of the Republican leaders said, "Anyone but 
Lincoln," but East and West, the people would have 
no one else for president. When he was renom- 
inated, he said he supposed the convention had "con- 
cluded not to swap horses while crossing the river." 

During the summer, the outlook was gloomy. The 
armies in the field were not victorious. The bitter- 
est attacks were made upon Lincoln and his plans by 
the "Copperheads," as well as by Democrats and 
those Republicans who did not like him. Lincoln be- 
lieved that the Union would be destroyed under the 
rule of the Democratic party and its candidate, Gen- 
eral McClellan, yet he was almost sure they would 
defeat him. He pledged himself and his cabinet se- 
cretly to do all they could to save the Union in the 


few months remaining to them and to stand loyally 
by the new president. 

When more men were needed for the army, Lincoln 
was told that he could jiot be elected if he asked for 
them. In spite of this, he called for one hundred 
and fifty thousand men, saying, "It matters not what 
becomes of me. We must have the men. If I go 
down, I go with my colors flying." 

Washington was full of sick and wounded soldiers. 
Lincoln's heart ached for them and he seemed to feel 
the pain of the men and the grief of the women at 
home. He often said, "I cannot bear it!" Victory 
came slowly and at frightful cost. His own family 
suffered. Lincoln was as much a Southerner by birth 
as Jefferson Davis, and his wife was also from Ken- 
tucky. Their dearest friends and kinsmen were in 
the Southern armies, and more than once the joy of 
success was lost in the bitter grief of a brother's death. 
He visited the hospitals and camps near Washington, 
and the "Boys in Blue" were almost as dear to him as 
his own sons. 

The generals were constantly scolding Lincoln for 
pardoning those condemned to death by court-mar- 
tial. Those who were frightened and ran away, he 
called "leg cases" and would not let them be pun- 
ished as deserters. If a sentry fell asleep at his post, 
Lincoln would feel sorry for the tired lad and pardon 
him. One such, found dead after a battle, had the 
President's picture over his heart, inscribed, "God 
bless Lincoln!" It was a bad thing for discipline, 
but these boys paid their debt of gratitude by brave 
service. "I want it said of me by those who know 


me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted 
a flower, where I thought a flower would grow," was 
his explanation, made to his old friend Speed, who 
was present one day when he pardoned a son at the 
mother's request. 

i^nerman's PTarclx 

The blackest hour for the Union passed. General 
William T. Sherman, fighting inch by inch the gal- 
lant soldiers of the South, took (in 1864) Atlanta 
(Ga.), where Confederate munitions were made. 
Then, 'marching through Georgia 55 three hundred 
miles to the sea, he at last led his victorious army 
northward, through the Carolinas, • to join General 


General Jubal A. Early, with his Confederate 
Army, made a sudden dash on Washington, and found 
it almost defenseless. But he was driven back into 
the Shenandoah Valley, where dashing Philip H. 
Sheridan and his cavalry made an end of his army. 

Admiral Farragut captured Mobile Bay (Aug., 
1864) , and this closed the only outlet the South had 
to the world of supplies; for the Mississippi River 
and the coast were patrolled by Union ships. 

Hopes of peace began to dawn. The faith of the 
people in Lincoln could not be shaken and on No- 
vember 8th, he received nearly half a million votes 
more than General McClellan. He said, "It is no 
pleasure to me to triumph over anyone, but I give 
thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the peo- 
ple's resolution to stand by free government and the 
rights of humanity." 

When Lincoln was inaugurated in March (1865), 
negro citizens and a battalion of negro troops joined 
the procession. He closed his inaugural address with 
the words : 

"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that 
this mighty scourge of war may soon pass away. 
Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth 
piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years 
of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop 
of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with an- 
other drawn with the sword; as was said three thou- 
sand years ago, so still it must be said, 'The judg- 
ments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' 

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, 
with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the 



right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to 
bind up the Nation's wounds, to care for him who 
shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and 
orphans; to do all which may achieve and cherish a 
just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all 

With the reelection of Lincoln, the South began 
to lose hope, yet it was willing to make peace only 

on condition of 
Southern inde- 
Lincoln did all 
he could to 
win the states 
back to the 
Union, but 
they could not 
give up their 
belief in their 
right to en- 
slave the ne- 

was in a des- 
perate state, 
but held out 
for weeks. On April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis and 
his cabinet left the Southern capital and fled south- 
ward. The city was set on fire and a drunken mob 
filled its streets. But Union soldiers marched in and 
restored order. 
Lincoln spent two weeks in camp with General 


Grant and I/mcoln 


Grant, where his son Robert was seeing some service. 
The President now visited Richmond, not with any 
pomp or display, but accompanied only by Admiral 
David D. Porter and a guard of ten sailors. He 
stopped at the home of the Confederate General 
George E. Pickett, whom he had known in Illinois. 
He told Mrs. Pickett that he was "Abraham Lincoln, 
George's old friend" and when her baby stretched out 
his hands, Lincoln took him in his arms. 

Lee's army was retreating. Instead of marching 
into surrendered Richmond, the prize for which he 
had worked so hard and long, Grant followed Lee. 
He overtook him at Appomattox (Virginia). On 
April 9th, 1865, Lee, dressed in a new uniform and 
wearing a splendid sword, surrendered to General 
Grant, who met him without a sword or any sign of 
rank but his shoulder straps. Thus the Civil War 
ended. Grant treated Lee with great courtesy, and 
hearing that his soldiers were hungry, he ordered food 
sent to them at once. Lincoln went back to Wash- 
ington, his great heart at rest, knowing the battles 
were over, and looking forward to the comfort of 
peace and home. 

In his home life, he was always thoughtful and 
courteous. He had always been burdened with cares, 
yet he could forget them, and in a flash could brim 
over with humor. It was his sense of humor that kept 
him from giving up during the hard years of the war. 
He was called a homely man, yet his face was beau- 
tiful with kindness, and when it lighted up, as he was 
inspired by great thoughts, he appeared charming in a 
rugged way. He cared little for clothes, yet when 


he had money, was always properly dressed. Chil- 
dren loved him and babies stretched their hands to 
him. "Tad" and "Willie," his own little boys, were 
all that made life joyous to him. They had ponies 
and dogs and goats. Their father loved their pets 
with them and was so much interested that he even 
told the cabinet when puppies and kittens were born 
at the White House! Sometimes he joined the boys 
in their play, and it was a sight to see him run- 
ning the bases in a ball game. But in their first 
Washington winter, while the burden of the country 
lay heavy upon the President, both boys became ill. 
Their father sat with them through the long nights, 
and when Willie died, his heart was torn with grief. 
After that, nine-year-old "Tad" was his constant com- 
panion. Even at cabinet meetings, Tad would sit on 
his father's knee or shoulder, or he would go to sleep, 
in the long evenings, on the floor beside him. 

Now the war was over and Lincoln went back to 
Washington to take up the task of rebuilding the Na- 
tion. On the fourteenth of April, he met his cabinet 
and told them that anger must be set aside ; no one 
must be punished; no more blood must be shed. He 
was thankful to God for the end of the war, and felt 
only the sincerest friendship for the South. He 
never referred to the Southerners as "rebels," but as 
"the other side;" and spoke of .their two leaders, half- 
affectionately, as "Jeffy D" and "Bobby Lee." He 
would have been glad to take the whole South in his 
arms, as he had taken General Pickett's baby. 

But a little group of Southerners, headed by John 
Wilkes Booth, an actor, hated Lincoln and the Union 



with intense hatred. The surrender of Lee mad- 
dened them. While Lincoln, enjoying the first peace 
he had known in years, was thinking how to deal most 
gently with the South, Booth was plotting his death. 
On the evening of April 14th (1865), the President 
and Mrs. Lincoln went to the theater. In the midst 
of the play, Booth, who had ridden to the rear door 

The Assassination, of Atrakam T/incoln_ 

of the theatre on a fleet horse, silently entered the 
President's box and shot him in the head. Waving 
a sharp knife, he repelled those who tried to seize him 
and leaped to the stage. The Stars and Stripes upon 
the railing caught his spur. He fell and broke his 
leg. But he fled across the stage and out of the 
theater, and before any one could stop him, mounted 
his horse and escaped. 


The President's eyes closed, never to open again! 
Tenderly, through the stricken crowd, he was carried 
to a near-by house, where, through the night, his life 
ebbed away. On the morning of April 15, 1865, he 
died. The North, gayly decked with flags to cele- 
brate the victory and the close of the war, awoke to 
the awful news which turned its joy to mourning. 
Millions wept at the death of Lincoln as they would 
mourn the loss of a friend. 

When the funeral was held in Washington, 
churches all over the land united in service. Kingly 
honors were paid to the dead President. The proces- 
sion moved from the White House to the Capitol, 
while minute guns boomed and all the bells in Wash- 
ington, Alexandria and Georgetown tolled. A de- 
tachment of negro troops marched at the head. 

Illinois claimed Lincoln's body, and when it was 
known he would be buried in Springfield, cities and 
states along the route begged the privilege of honor- 
ing him. The funeral train passed westward over 
the same route as he had taken to Washington, four 
years before. Baltimore, through which he had then 
feared to pass, was now the first city to do him honor. 
In all the cities, his remains were received with sor- 
rowful ceremonies and people thronged to look upon 
his dead face. In the villages, weeping crowds 
watched his train pass by beneath arches of flowers, 
and at night, bonfires lighted his way from farm to 

At Springfield, the Capitol was hung with black 
velvet and silver and filled with flowers. The simple 
and true friends of Lincoln's earlier days passed by 


the bier of their dear old neighbor, in an unbroken 
stream for a day and a night. Then his face was shut 
from sight, and the procession moved out to the beau- 
tiful burial place at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Old Bob, 
the horse Lincoln rode around the circuit, walked 
riderless behind the funeral car. The simple services 
were closed by reading the President's second inaug- 
ural address, which contains his wonderful message to 
his people. Later, when his monument was dedi- 
cated, Grant said, "In his death, the Nation lost its 
greatest hero, the South its most just friend." 

With the greatness of the Union, Lincoln's name 
grows greater. As years have softened and wiped out 
the bitterness of the war, South as well as North, 
claims him. One of the South's own sons, Henry W. 
Grady, said he was "the first typical American — the 
first who comprehended within himself all the 
strength and gentleness, all the majesty and grace of 
this Republic." 

Nor does he belong to America alone, but more and 
more he becomes the hero of the plain people through- 
out the world. And not the plain people only; for 
while he sprang from them, Lincoln came to live with 
the great as the best among them all. His country- 
men cherish the little log cabin, but he glorified the 
Presidency and the White House. 

He cannot be compared with other great men, for 
there was never a man like Lincoln. Lonely in his 
life, he is alone in his fame. Henry Watterson, a 
great Southerner, has said of him: "Born as lowly 
as the Son of God, in a hovel; reared in penury and 
squalor, with no gleam of light, nor fair surrounding, 

9 6 


it was reserved for this strange man, without name or 
fame or preparation, to be snatched from obscurity, 
raised to supreme command at a supreme moment, 
and entrusted with the destiny of a nation. A thou- 
sand years hence, no story, no tragedy, no epic poem 
will be filled with greater wonder than that which 
tells the life and death of Abraham Lincoln." 

The Iyincoln Monument^ 


Springfield » Illinois 

•7/.1003.0***- 0,lj2 ^